‘Mo­sisili the cause of congress splits’

Lesotho Times - - Big Interview -

THE High Court last Fri­day en­dorsed Demo­cratic Congress (DC) leader Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili’s sus­pen­sion of 10 DC Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­bers aligned to for­mer deputy leader Monyane Moleleki.

Dr Mo­sisili went on to sus­pend Mr Moleleki and nine other NEC mem­bers for six years dur­ing a spe­cial con­fer­ence held dur­ing the week­end. Mr Moleleki has since an­nounced plans to form a new po­lit­i­cal party.

In this in­ter­view, Le­sotho Times ( LT) re­porter Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane speaks to for­mer DC Youth League (DCYL) Pres­i­dent Thuso Litjobo, who is among the nine sus­pended NEC mem­bers, on the tu­mul­tuous events of the past week and their strat­egy go­ing for­ward.

LT: You are known to be a staunch sup­porter of Mr Moleleki who an­nounced this week he in­tends to form a new party. Again, where does this leave you and the rest of his fol­low­ers in the DC?

Litjobo: You are def­i­nitely right that I am a sup­porter of Ntate Moleleki and his lat­est de­ci­sion to form a party and leave the DC af­fects me. Un­for­tu­nately, as we speak, I am not in a po­si­tion to say how Ntate Moleleki’s de­ci­sion has af­fected my po­lit­i­cal stance in re­la­tion to my mem­ber­ship in the DC. I can only tell you that within 48 hours from now, I would be able to clearly give you our stance.

LT: Fol­low­ing a res­o­lu­tion by the spe­cial con­fer­ence to sus­pend you, have you re­ceived any for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion to that ef­fect?

Litjobo: There hasn’t been any such com­mu­ni­ca­tion. But as things stand, we all know that my po­si­tion in the DCYL has not been af­fected by such a res­o­lu­tion.

LT: In the cir­cum­stances, what does the fu­ture hold for your po­lit­i­cal ca­reer?

Litjobo: The fact of the mat­ter is that I don’t be­lieve there is any youth who hopes he or she has a bright fu­ture in pol­i­tics while he or she is still fol­low­ing Ntate Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

To di­rectly an­swer your ques­tion, there is no po­lit­i­cal fu­ture for me if I am still be fol­low­ing Ntate Mo­sisili. As long as Ntate Mo­sisili re­mains leader of any po­lit­i­cal party, that party’s youths don’t have a fu­ture.

LT: Why do you say that?

Litjobo: Ntate Mo­sisili is one of the most con­ven­tional po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, if not the only one in this coun­try, who doesn’t care about the de­vel­op­ment of the youths at all. What he does is iden­tify an in­di­vid­ual whom he likes with all his heart, but he doesn’t be­lieve in the youths in gen­eral. He will not sup­port any­thing that fos­ters the de­vel­op­ment of youths.

For in­stance, there is no other youth leader in any po­lit­i­cal party that Ntate Mo­sisili was a mem­ber of who sup­ported him the way I did. But look at how he re­pays me! If the youths in pol­i­tics can­not wake up now and re­alise how Ntate Mo­sisili un­der­mines them, then it is a pity for those who still be­lieve in him.

One rea­son I was elected DCYL leader was be­cause the party youths knew how much I sup­ported and re­mained loyal to Ntate Mo­sisili and his (then) deputy Ntate Moleleki. Even when I was crit­i­cis­ing Ntate Mo­sisili’s govern­ment, I al­ways said he was ex­cep­tional.

LT: But there is view that one of rea­sons the DC has now ef­fec­tively split is be­cause of you. Peo­ple say you con­trib­uted to the split by “mak­ing noise” about the al­leged cor­rup­tion in govern­ment and by crit­i­cis­ing some of the DC of­fi­cials openly in the me­dia. What do you say to that?

Litjobo: I think peo­ple who hold that opin­ion are not be­ing fair. They are turn­ing a blind eye to real is­sues. If you be­lieve what you are do­ing is right, you need not fear point­ing out your lead­ers’ wrong­do­ings. That is called prin­ci­ples.

But for peo­ple who are cow­ards, they will al­ways say the leader is right even where that is not the case. Some peo­ple are quick to for­get where we come from, while oth­ers are not aware at all of where we come from.

They only picked up on these is­sues af­ter they in­ten­si­fied re­cently. Most peo­ple don’t know that the DC was al­most split from the time it was formed in 2012. There were al­ready at least two fac­tions in the party from day one of its for­ma­tion! We, as the DCYL com­mit­tee, can­not be blamed to­day about the DC split.

LT: Can you elab­o­rate?

Litjobo: The DC was formed in Fe­bru­ary 2012 af­ter fac­tion­al­ism es­ca­lated in the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), of which we were all mem­bers. You will re­call the LCD fac­tions were code-named Litima-mollo (fire­fight­ers) and Lija-mollo (fire eaters), just like we have Liru­rubele (but­ter­flies) and Lithope (girl­friends) in the DC to­day. Now, when the DC was formed, it was sup­posed to have been formed by the then Lija-mollo mem­bers who fled from the Litima-mollo.

But for some rea­son, we still had some dis­guised Litima-mollo mem­bers among us. They were quick to show their true colours im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the DC’S for­ma­tion. That is the split I am re­fer­ring to. Un­for­tu­nately, our lead­ers chose to ig­nore this fact and failed to ad­dress it on time. I fought hard to bar the Litima-mollo peo­ple within the DC from desta­bil­is­ing the party in the same way as they did in the LCD.

And be­cause they knew I was com­mit­ted to frus­trat­ing their mis­sion, they wanted to de­stroy me in what­ever pos­si­ble man­ner. I re­peat­edly re­ported these is­sues to the DC lead­er­ship but I think peo­ple didn’t take it se­ri­ously.

In fact, it even­tu­ally came to my at­ten­tion that I was re­port­ing to the lead­er­ship where some of its mem­bers were ac­tu­ally spon­sor­ing the spirit of Litima-mollo. In other words, some of our lead­ers in the DC were ac­tu­ally still Litima-mollo.

They did not want to take any dis­ci­plinary mea­sures against their peo­ple. When I re­ported such is­sues, they would laugh be­hind my back. Fol­low­ing the 2012 elec­tions, Ntate Mo­sisili made it clear he was not go­ing to be the leader of op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment.

His in­ten­tion was to give that po­si­tion to his deputy, Ntate Moleleki. But still the Litima-mollo peo­ple, like ’Me Likeleli Tam­pane and Ntate Mathi­beli Mokhothu, were against that idea.

Peo­ple think it was easy for Ntate Moleleki to be given the po­si­tion of leader of op­po­si­tion. It was not. Peo­ple fought against it. Those are the same de­struc­tive el­e­ments within the DC even to­day as the party splits. Even Dr Pon­tšo Seka­tle was against Ntate Moleleki’s ap­point­ment as leader of op­po­si­tion.

LT: But why are they against the Ntate Moleleki?

Litjobo: One of the is­sues they have raised is that Ntate Moleleki uses me to desta­bilise their con­stituen­cies. They say he gives me his cars to travel from one con­stituency to the other to iden­tify other DC mem­bers who can com­pete with them ( Litima-mollo) dur­ing pri­mary elec­tions.

Be­cause they are weak, Litima-mollo have al­ways ad­vo­cated for di­vi­sions within the congress par­ties be­cause that is the only way they can ma­neu­ver their way to the top po­si­tions they are hun­gry for. They have al­ways told Ntate Mo­sisili lies about Ntate Moleleki us­ing me to un­der­mine them. Ntate Moleleki has not done that.

LT: But is it true you fre­quented their con­stituen­cies to hold cam­paigns?

Litjobo: No. I was so busy mak­ing sure the DC grew and gar­nered more sup­port else­where but not in their con­stituen­cies be­cause that is their re­spon­si­bil­ity, not mine. It was not pos­si­ble for me to go to one con­stituency af­ter another even if Ntate Moleleki gave me his cars. My only in­ter­est was en­sur­ing that the DC grew.

LT: From what you are say­ing, it seems like Ntate Moleleki is a threat to some peo­ple in the DC. Why is that?

Litjobo: Ntate Moleleki has the qual­i­ties of a good leader. He is able to de­vote his at­ten­tion to the peo­ple. He takes care of his fol­low­ers. He re­spects the na­tion. He is friendly and eas­ily ap­proach­able by any mem­ber of so­ci­ety.

Un­like, many peo­ple in the DC lead­er­ship, Ntate Moleleki is not ar­ro­gant. Most sig­nif­i­cantly, Ntate Moleleki is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a bet­ter fu­ture for our youths. When I talk about the youths, I am not re­fer­ring to the DC youths only.

For in­stance, there are sev­eral par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in the Na­tional Assem­bly who made it there through the as­sis­tance and sup­port of Ntate Moleleki. I can name peo­ple like Mokhele Mo­let­sane, Re­filoe Litjobo, Tjoet­sane Seoka and Mathi­beli Mokhothu among oth­ers.

Ntate Mokhothu, who is now DC deputy leader, re­ceived fi­nan­cial sup­port from Ntate Moleleki’s fam­ily to be where he is to­day. I should not for­get ’Me Likeleli Tam­pane who also re­ceived fi­nan­cial sup­port from Ntate Moleleki for a long time.

It is sur­pris­ing that they are fight­ing Ntate Moleleki to­day. Ntate Moleleki con­trib­uted a lot into what Ntate Mo­sisili is to­day. Ntate Moleleki first got into the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tees of the congress par­ties in 1992. Ntate Mo­sisili came in four years later, around 2006. Ntate Moleleki con­trib­uted a lot for Ntate Mo­sisili to win pri­mary elec­tions in his Tsoe­like con­stituency in 1993 in the Ba­sotho Congress Party.

LT: From the youths’ point of view, what do you think is the real prob­lem within the congress par­ties caus­ing these peren­nial splits?

Litjobo: The prob­lem is not congress par­ties or the fol­low­ers, but the leader. In Le­sotho, there is no po­lit­i­cal leader who is more tal­ented in caus­ing di­vi­sions in par­ties they lead than Ntate Mo­sisili. Ntate Mo­sisili is fa­mous for in­cit­ing fac­tions in his par­ties. Dur­ing his lead­er­ship of the LCD, four par­ties have emerged as a re­sult of split­ting.

No other po­lit­i­cal leader has bro­ken that record. From 1998, when he took over the lead­er­ship of the LCD, the Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress was formed in 2001. In 2006, the LCD, again un­der his lead­er­ship, ex­pe­ri­enced a split through the for­ma­tion of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC).

But still Ntate Mo­sisili re­garded him­self a good leader. On 25 Fe­bru­ary 2012, the DC was formed as a break­away from the LCD un­der his lead­er­ship. On Mon­day 5 De­cem­ber 2016, a fourth party break­ing away from Ntate Mo­sisili’s lead­er­ship was an­nounced by his for­mer deputy Ntate Moleleki. Dur­ing the for­ma­tion of the DC, Ntate Mo­sisili made a solemn prom­ise that the party would not ex­pe­ri­ence a break­away un­der his lead­er­ship.

In other words, he said the DC could only split if he is no longer its leader. What do we say now? ABC is older than DC in terms of the pe­riod since they were es­tab­lished. ABC was formed in 2006 and DC in 2012, but ABC has not split even once.

Thuso Litjobo

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