Women’s and youth leagues jump ship as party splits

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

THE Demo­cratic Congress (DC) has ef­fec­tively split af­ter the party’s women’s and youth leagues de­fected to for­mer deputy leader Monyane Moleleki, who also jumped ship this week and in­tends to form a new po­lit­i­cal party.

The split is a cul­mi­na­tion of a long drawn out turf war be­tween DC leader Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili and Mr Moleleki. The feud came to a head last Fri­day when the High Court en­dorsed the pre­mier’s sus­pen­sion of Mr Moleleki and nine other DC Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­bers.

The court rul­ing gave Dr Mo­sisili carte blanche to fin­ish off his van­quished po­lit­i­cal foe and DC NEC mem­bers sup­port­ing him by ex­tend­ing their sus­pen­sion in party ac­tiv­i­ties for six years dur­ing a spe­cial con­fer­ence held over the week­end.

Dr Mo­sisili had con­vened the spe­cial con­fer­ence to deal with Mr Moleleki and NEC mem­bers aligned to his Liru­rubele (but­ter­flies) fac­tion who had pulled out of the seven-party gov­ern­ing coali­tion with­out the party leader’s con­sent. The NEC also sus­pended Dr Mo­sisili and ap­pointed Mr Moleleki as act­ing leader.

Mr Moleleki had gone on to ink a coali­tion agree­ment with the tri­par­tite op­po­si­tion bloc to oust the in­cum­bent govern­ment with­out Dr Mo­sisili’s in­put.

Un­der the pact with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho, Mr Moleleki would head the coali­tion for the first 18 months in the event they form govern­ment.

How­ever, Dr Mo­sisili did not take the chal­lenge ly­ing down, and he also sus­pended Mr Moleleki and the nine NEC mem­bers whom he la­belled as rebels.

With the court rul­ing in his favour, Dr Mo­sisili was able to con­vene the spe­cial con­fer­ence which ap­pointed new lead­ers aligned to his fac­tion.

The spe­cial con­fer­ence re­placed Mr Moleleki as deputy leader with Sports Min­is­ter Mathi­beli Mokhothu, Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ralechate ’ Mokose with Le­bak­eng con­stituency leg­is­la­tor Se­mano Seka­tle, Chair­per­son ’ Maboiketlo Maliehe was re­placed by Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Mot­la­len­toa Let­sosa, while Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane re­placed Re­filoe Litjobo as deputy sec­re­tary­gen­eral.

With the dif­fer­ences be­tween Liru­rubele and Lithope (girl­friends) — which is aligned to Dr Mo­sisili — seem­ingly ir­rec­on­cil­able af­ter the tu­mul­tuous events of the week­end, it was only a mat­ter of when and not if the split would oc­cur.

On Mon­day, Mr Moleleki an­nounced dur­ing a press con­fer­ence held at his Maseru home he was leav­ing the DC “with a heavy heart” to form a “pop­ulist cen­trist po­lit­i­cal party”.

Mr Moleleki said he de­cided to jump ship to be able to con­test in the lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions sched­uled for late Fe­bru­ary or early March 2017.

Mr Moleleki said while he had ap­pealed the High Court de­ci­sion to en­dorse his sus­pen­sion in the Court of Ap­peal he could not wait for their rul­ing. The Court of Ap­peal is ex­pected to re­con­vene next April.

How­ever, he said the name, colours and sym­bols of the party would be de­cided “in due course”, call­ing on “like-minded peo­ple” to join his move­ment.

The DC’S women’s and youth leagues yes­ter­day fol­lowed suit, and an­nounced dur­ing a joint press con­fer­ence they had is­sued res­ig­na­tion let­ters to Mr Seka­tle who took over from Mr ‘Mokose.

Among the women’s league mem- bers who an­nounced their de­fec­tion to Mr Moleleki are: Deputy Pres­i­dent ‘Maphoka Mo­tuboli, Trea­surer Mal­it­lallo Ma­jara, Deputy Sec­re­tary Li­makatso Mokoka, Deputy Chair­per­son Malet­soela Moima, Deputy Spokesper­son Mathabo More­mo­holo as well as mem­bers Mabuoang To­tomana and Mat­seko Mafan­tiri.

The youth league mem­bers are: Pres­i­dent Thuso Litjobo, Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral Le­tuka Chafotsa, Trea­surer ‘Mamo­lope Nomo, Chair­per­son Lekhotla Matsaba, Deputy Sec­re­tary Tlotliso Mon­a­heng, Spokesper­son Maliehe Lem­phane, Mem­bers are Tlalane Mapota and Tl­ha­beli Mo­japela.

Mr Le­tuka said they de­cided to leave the DC and de­fect to Mr Moleleki due to Dr Mo­sisili’s “mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion of the party and govern­ment”. He also ac­cused the pre­mier of nepo­tism, fu­elling in- fight­ing in the DC and cir­cum­vent­ing party struc­tures.

“We were shocked to see how much of a tyrant Ntate Mo­sisili was when he de­fied party struc­tures and de­ci­sions of the NEC,” he said.

“This past week­end we saw him take away our con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to fa­cil­i­tate the party con­fer­ences and he ap­pointed his own com­mit­tee that will over­see the con­fer­ence of the party.

“We de­cided to leave the party and join Ntate Moleleki in his de­ci­sion to form a new po­lit­i­cal party as he has al­ways shown his ap­pre­ci­a­tion of our con­tri­bu­tion to the party and given us a chance to be heard as the youths.”

Mr Le­tuka also ac­cused Dr Mo­sisili of “em­brac­ing cor­rupt pub­lic of­fi­cials” at the ex­pense of the coun­try’s in­ter­ests.

“He (Dr Mo­sisili) de­cided to ap­point Min­is­ter of Sports Mathi­beli Mokhothu as his deputy even though he was found guilty by a court of law of theft and cor­rup­tion,” Mr Le­tuka charged.

“He has also been hir­ing his close fam­ily mem­bers show­ing how far he can go to em­brace nepo­tism in govern­ment. He also hires his cronies in govern­ment with­out con­sid­er­ing their qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

Mr Le­tuka said they de­cided to join Mr Moleleki to avoid Dr Mo­sisili “who pro­motes in­fight­ing in the party”.

He said since Dr Mo­sisili’s as­cend to the lead­er­ship of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) in 1998, splits had been the or­der of the day in the party un­til the pre­mier de­fected to form the DC in 2012 “only to cause fur­ther in­fight­ing and splits”.

This was echoed by Mr Litjobo who said peo­ple who only knew Dr Mo­sisili from afar “didn’t re­alise how much of a tyrant he is who be­lieves in the di­vide and rule no­tion”.

“He (Dr Mo­sisili) has failed to hide his per­sonal in­ter­est in the in­fight­ing that rocked the party and ended up tak­ing sides when he was sup­posed to be the uni­fy­ing fac­tor among us. He is skilled at di­vid­ing the na­tion more than any­thing else,” said Mr Litjobo.

“From the day this youth league was elected, he could not hide his ab­hor­rence of us as he went ahead to ap­point other youths he pre­ferred work­ing with in­stead of us. He used those youths to op­pose the youth league,” said Mr Litjobo.

For her part, Ms Mo­tuboli said she was leav­ing the DC with a “very heavy heart” as she had ex­pected to die a mem­ber of the party.

“How­ever, I can­not stay in a party whose leader dose not em­brace demo­cratic val­ues. Ntate Mo­sisili has been fu­elling DC in­fight­ing in­stead of quelling the feuds and unit­ing the party,” she said.

Re­peated ef­forts to con­tact Mr Mokhothu and DC spokesper­son Se­ri­ol­ing Qoo were fruit­less at the time of go­ing to print.

Lead­ers of the DC youths and women’s leagues an­nounce their de­fec­tion yes­ter­day

SOME of the for­mer DC youth League and Women League mem­ber ad­dress the me­dia yes­ter­day.

SOME of the de­fec­tors re­move their DC t-shirts.

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