BNP splits

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

A new po­lit­i­cal party has been launched by dis­grun­tled for­mer mem­bers of the Ba­sotho na­tional Party (BNP).

The Demo­cratic Party of Le­sotho (DPL) was un­veiled in Tey­ateya­neng on Sun­day and is led by a three-mem­ber in­terim com­mit­tee com­pris­ing busi­ness­man Lim­pho Tau, ‘Ma­mako Mo­hale and Mal­i­ma­tle Hlalele.

Mr Tau is a for­mer BNP chair­per­son for Tey­ateya­neng Con­stituency, while Ms Mo­hale rep­re­sented the party in the May 2012 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions but lost and Mr Hlalele is a for­mer mem­ber of the Bnp’s Mal­iba­matšo con­stituency com­mit­tee.

A size­able crowd at­tended Sun­day’s launch but there were no no­table BNP heavy­weights at the oc­ca­sion save for Mr Tau, Ms Mo­hale and Hlalele.

The Bnp’s “lack of am­bi­tion to form govern­ment and dis­re­gard for grass­roots mo­bil­i­sa­tion” had led to their res­ig­na­tion, said Mr Tau, who is tipped to be elected leader when the party holds its first congress in July this year.

“we be­lieve the fun­da­men­tal rea­son for a party to ex­ist is to be in govern­ment and it can only do so through the for­mu­la­tion of good poli­cies, and ad­her­ing to its con­sti­tu­tion,” Mr Tau said this week.

“All other par­ties in Le­sotho as­pire to be in govern­ment ex­cept the BNP hence our de­ci­sion to leave the party and form the DPL.”

Mr Tau fur­ther said a party which as­pires to be in govern­ment ad­heres to its con­sti­tu­tion and main­tains strong grass­roots struc­tures. He al­leged the BNP had failed to do ei­ther.

“A party should have strong struc­tures at grass­roots level. If one doesn’t have such struc­tures or is not wor­ried that the party doesn’t have them, it means that per­son has no in­ter­est to be in govern­ment.

“How can a party only get 30 or 50 votes in a con­stituency like what the BNP was do­ing? Such poor per­for­mance would not have been wit­nessed if the BNP had these grass­roots struc­tures.

“It was also un­for­tu­nate that we had sce­nar­ios where peo­ple would be im­ported into other con­stituen­cies to con­test elec­tions.

“That’s why when we were in the coali­tion govern­ment with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy, we per­formed so poorly dur­ing the Fe­bru­ary 2014 Lo­cal Govern­ment elec­tions.

“It should be re­mem­bered that one who is out of sight is out of mind, and that is ex­actly what’s hap­pen­ing with the BNP due to this grass­roots ab­sence.”

He fur­ther ac­cused the BNP of fail­ing to have manda­tory con­fer­ences be­cause the lead­ers did not want to be held to ac­count.

“The last such con­fer­ence was in 2013, and noth­ing hap­pened in the other years. Can such a party be trusted when it fails to give out very cru­cial re­ports like those of the sec­re­tary gen­eral, na­tional or­gan­iser and trea­surer? This means such a party can­not be trusted with run­ning the af­fairs of a govern­ment.

“On count­less oc­ca­sions, we have asked for these re­ports but never re­ceived them. we ended up be­ing called all sorts of things and I was per­son­ally ac­cused of want­ing to chal- leng for the party lead­er­ship when I con­tin­ued to ask for the re­ports.”

Mr. Tau fur­ther dis­missed claims that he was linked to Mr Leuta whose fight with the BNP lead­er­ship has high­lighted the di­vi­sions in the party.

“I was la­belled a wolf that wants to top­ple party leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane. And due to my frus­tra­tions and re­al­i­sa­tion that the party was go­ing nowhere un­der the cur­rent lead­er­ship, I de­cided to quit the BNP and sub­mit­ted by res­ig­na­tion let­ter to the con­stituency com­mit­tee in Tey­ateya­neng on 26 April.

“Af­ter the res­ig­na­tion, some party mem­bers asked me to form a party and not to quit pol­i­tics al­to­gether. At the DPL launch on Sun­day, we had rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 19 con­stituen- cies, who are all for­mer BNP mem­bers. And we are go­ing to be hold­ing ral­lies every Sun­day and the next rally would be in Mokhot­long,” said Mr Tau.

The DPL, Mr Tau added, wants to change Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape hence the de­ci­sion not to in­clude any­thing that could iden­tify it as a na­tional or congress ide­ol­ogy ori­ented party.

“The DPL wants to be in govern­ment and not just re­main in the op­po­si­tion,” Mr Tau said.

How­ever, BNP spokesper­son, Mach­esetsa Mo­fo­mobe, dis­missed the DPL for­ma­tion as a non-event.

“The DPL has been formed through de­ceit and lies and it will not suc­ceed. It’s a des­per­ate move by power-hun­gry peo­ple who lost the BNP youth and women’s league elec­tions, and re­al­ized they were about to lose nec elec­tions next month. To avoid such em­bar­rass­ment, they de­cided to elect them­selves lead­ers in their own party, but their project is go­ing to fail dis­mally,” said Mr Mo­fo­mobe.

“His­tory tells us that BNP splin­ter-par­ties such as the na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party, na­tional Pro­gres­sive Party and Ba­sotho Demo­cratic na­tional Party flopped.

“The same will hap­pen to the DPL, and it will be­come an­other failed project.”

He also dis­missed claims that the BNP does not have grass­roots struc­tures.

“Tau’s fac­tion couldn’t have con­tested the youth and women’s league elec­tions if the BNP did not have these grass­roots struc­tures,” Mr Mo­fo­mobe said.

“Like I said, these are just power-hun­gry peo­ple and Tau has been re­jected by his own con­stituency where he was BNP chair­man. He has only been joined by one mem­ber of the com­mit­tee in his new party so the DPL is not a threat at all to the BNP.”

From left DPL in­terim lead­er­ship mal­i­ma­tle Hlalele, Lim­pho Tau and ma­mako mo­hale dur­ing the party launch in Tey­ateya­neng on Sun­day.

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