Bat­tle lines drawn

. . . as DC youths hold po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive elec­tive con­fer­ence

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

Two Demo­cratic Congress Youth League fac­tions go toe-to-toe this week­end as the league holds its first na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence.

The po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive two-day ind­aba be­gins on Satur­day at Le­sotho High School in Maseru, with 26 can­di­dates vy­ing for 13 po­si­tions in the league’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive.

Party leader and Prime Min­is­ter, Dr Pakalitha Mo­sisili, is ex­pected to of­fi­cially open the con­fer­ence on Satur­day morn­ing, with the elec­toral process set to be­gin later in the day. Del­e­gates ar­rive at the con­fer­ence venue to­mor­row evening.

Since its es­tab­lish­ment in 2012 from the then rul­ing Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), the Demo­cratic Congress (DC) has held elec­tive con­fer­ences for its Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (2013), and Women’s League (2014).

Ac­cord­ing to the party’s con­sti­tu­tion, the three na­tional ex­ec­u­tives should be elected tri­en­ni­ally and in suc­ces­sive years.

How­ever, the week­end con­fer­ence comes shortly af­ter the party’s NEC held cri­sis talks with the out­go­ing com­mit­tee over sev­eral con­cerns, among them over-aged mem­bers in the league, as well as fac­tional fight­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to sources within the league, the talks took place at a lo­cal ho­tel on Fri­day last week and one of the top­ics dis­cussed was the can­di­da­ture of Tha­bang Kanono from Le­bak­eng con­stituency in Qacha’s Nek. Mr Kanono stood ac­cused of mis­rep­re­sent­ing his date of birth to qual­ify for the polls.

Can­di­dates are ex­pected to be be­tween the ages of 15 and 35, and it was al­leged Mr Kanono changed his date of birth from 1974 to 1981 to fall within this cat­e­gory.

The league’s out­go­ing deputy chair­per­son, Rama­hooana Mat­losa, con­firmed Mr Kanono had sub­mit­ted a bap­tismal cer­tifi­cate in­di­cat­ing he was born in 1981 only for a sub­se­quent probe to find oth­er­wise.

Mr Mat­losa said: “We re­quested all the can­di­dates to sub­mit their iden­tity doc­u­ments in the form of a birth cer­tifi­cate, pass­port, na­tional ID card, bap­tismal cer­tifi­cate or an In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) voter’s card.

“Mr Kanono, who was also a mem­ber of the out­go­ing com­mit­tee and was vy­ing for the vice-pres­i­dent’s post, first sub­mit­ted a bap- tismal cer­tifi­cate show­ing he was born in 1981.

“How­ever, there were com­plaints raised that what ap­peared in the doc­u­ment could not be his true date of birth.

“An in­ves­ti­ga­tion was sub­se­quently launched and his pass­port and IEC voter’s card in­di­cated he was ac­tu­ally born in 1974.

“How­ever, he also pos­sessed a party mem­ber­ship card which iron­i­cally, showed his date of birth to be 1980.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Mat­losa, Mr Kanono’s is­sue had since been re­solved af­ter he was ad­vised to with­draw from the elec­tion.

Asked about the de­ba­cle yesterday, Mr Kanono con­firmed with­draw­ing his can­di­da­ture but not be­cause of the age-dis­pute.

“I with­drew my can­di­da­ture af­ter re­al­is­ing my name was be­ing abused be­cause of the is­sue of two camps in the youth league.

“There are peo­ple who are be­lieved to be­long to a camp sup­port­ing (Po­lice) Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki (DC deputy leader), while the other group is said to sup­port party leader, Ntate Mo­sisili.

“I was one of the peo­ple against fac­tion­al­ism in the league, which is why I am be­ing vic­timised now,” he said.

Mr Kanono in­sisted he was born in 1981 and only with­drew from the poll in or­der to avoid be­ing as­so­ci­ated with any of the camps.

“Those I was with in the out­go­ing com­mit­tee know about the mis­take which was done on my other iden­tity doc­u­ments re­gard­ing my age.

“I tried to cor­rect this with them but that could not hap­pen any­time soon. Many of them in the com­mit­tee also have wrong birth­dates but that was not chal­lenged,” he said.

Mean­while, Mr Mat­losa also told the Le­sotho Times that the other is­sue dis­cussed in last week’s meet­ing was the con­tro­ver­sial elec­tion of Lithoteng and Tsikoane con­stituency youth com­mit­tees.

The ex­ec­u­tives were elected early this year amid com­plaints that proper pro­ce­dure had not been fol­lowed.

Mr Mat­losa said: “Con­stituency com­mit­tees, un­like na­tional ones, are elected an- nu­ally. with Tsikoane and Lithoteng, com­plaints have since been lodged be­fore the NEC chal­leng­ing their elec­tion on al­le­ga­tions that proper pro­ce­dures were not fol­lowed.

“Af­ter last week’s meet­ing, it was de­cided not to al­low these two com­mit­tees to take part in the up­com­ing elec­tions. How­ever, the two con­stituen­cies will still be rep­re­sented by their pre­vi­ous com­mit­tees.”

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the league’s pres­i­dent Mos­ala Mo­jak­isane, his deputy ’Mat­lotliso Le­ba­joa, trea­surer Keketso Mo­lia, deputy spokesper­son Li­ranyane Thamae and Mr Mat­losa would not be part of the week­end poll as they are now be­yond 35 years of age.

The league’s chair­per­son Thuso Litjobo, who is be­lieved to be lead­ing the camp be­hind Mr Moleleki, would bat­tle for the pres­i­den­tial post against spokesper­son Mole­bat­seng Mot­jet­jepa, said to be­long to a camp sup­port­ing Dr Mo­sisili.

And fol­low­ing Mr Kanono’s with­drawal, Mot­samai Mot­jeketje is the only can­di­date for the po­si­tion of vi­cepres­i­dent, while Le­tuka Chafotsa is up against Man­gal­iso Makakole for the sec­re­tary post.

’Mamo­lope Nomo and Mosa Mafenya would be vy­ing for the trea­surer’s po­si­tion while Lekhotla Matšaba is un­chal­lenged for the chair­man­ship.

Tlotliso Mon­a­heng and ’Man­toane Lekoba would be fight­ing for the deputy sec­re­tary post, with ’Mamotonosi Sekonyela and Ntina Ngakane do­ing the same for the po­si­tion of deputy chair­per­son.

Maliehe Lem­phane and Thabo Khati would be go­ing for the post of league spokesper­son, while Fusi Ra­man­tai and Rele­bo­hile Kou com­pete for the deputy’s post.

Sekake Chaole, Tšeliso Moalosi, Tha­bang Male­sela, ’ Malisema Fosere, Ma­sole Seso, Tlalane Mapota, Nte­bo­he­leng Khasu, Pon­tšo Sello, Tl­ha­beli Mo­japela and Setho Seitl­heko would con­test for the four po­si­tions of com­mit­tee mem­bers.

From left: DC Youth League Chair­per­son Thuso Litjobo (left) Deputy chair­per­son rama­hooana mat­losa and Deputy Pres­i­dent ‘mat­lotliso Le­ba­joa.

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