Bongiwe Zihlangu & Nat Molomo
MASERU — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili is facing a revolt within his ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party.
Seventeen LCD constituencies are now calling for the dissolution of the LCD’s entire national executive committee.
The seventeen are part of the 26 constituencies that last year called for the removal of all members of the executive committee except for Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla.
Their calls led the party’s leadership conference in November to instruct the executive committee to organise a special conference to decide whether the executive members should be fired on not.
That special conference, set for March 19, is now facing a legal challenge from five LCD members who say it is illegal because it targets some committee members while leaving out Mosisili and Lehohla.
In papers filed at the High Court in January the five members say according to the LCD constitution it is impossible to separate Mosisili and Lehohla from the rest of the executive committee members.
They argued that the leadership conference had misdirected itself when it instructed the executive committee to organise the special conference.
They argue that based on these reasons the court must order that the special conference be stopped.
The High Court is yet to deliver judgment but the 17 constituencies have already devised a “plan B” just in case the court blocks the special conference.
The Sunday Express can reveal that the 17 constituencies now want the entire executive committee, including Mosisili and Lehohla, booted out.
This paper is in possession of 16 letters from the ‘Maliepetsane, Tele, Sebapala, Lebakeng, Mosalemane, Semena, Thaba-Putsoa, Maletsunyane, Maseru, Teya-Teyaneng, Motete, Mechachane, Qoaling, Kolonyama, Mohobollo and Matlakeng constituencies.
In all their letters – most of which look curiously similar – the constituencies say they have lost faith in Mosisili’s executive committee.
The party’s secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing, who is understood to be leading the faction that is being targeted by the 17 constituencies, received the letters between February 6 and 19.
The constituencies said they had reached the decision to call for the dissolution of the entire executive committee after “consultations” on February 6.
They also call for an “urgent special committee” to deal with their new demands.
“After complaints from some members of the party calling a special conference to express lack of confidence in some members of the executive committee and not others, we wish to amend our request to ‘we do not have confidence in all members of the executive committee’,” read one of the letters.
Another letter accuses the executive committee of attempting to delay the special committee that was called by the leadership conference in November.
“The leadership conference resolved that a special conference be convened immediately but the executive committee refused to comply,” the letter said.
There is also confusion in the executive committee, the constituencies said.
“To affirm that there is confusion within the executive committee, it (executive committee) has hired two lawyers to oppose each other in the case,” said another letter.
“It is utterly surprising that the two lawyers have been instructed to oppose each other although all the defendants form part of an entity that is the LCD.”
One lawyer has been instructed not to oppose the application seeking to block the special conference “so that at the end of the day the LCD loses and they both claim to have been instructed by the NEC”, the letter said.
“Pursuant to sections 5.2 and 7.1.3 of the LCD constitution we urge that there be a special conference on 19-20 March to express lack of confidence in the executive committee.”
The letter from the Mohobollo constituency criticises the executive committee for failing to organise a special conference to elect a new treasurer after the resignation of former treasurer Popane Lebesa last November after Mosisili fired him as trade minister.
“We find ourselves questioning as to who has to date been the custodian of the party’s finances,” the constituency said.
“It is obvious that the party’s coffers are being used, testimony to that being the fact our party has a case to defend in the courts of law.”
The ‘Maliepetsane constituency further accuses the executive committee of dealing with party matters in the media.
In its 10 to 17 December 2010 issue, Mololi, the LCD mouthpiece, published the contents of the letters from the constituencies and the responses by the executive committee.
“We read the executive committee’s responses in the party’s newspaper whereas the issues were supposed to have been discussed by a special conference,” the ‘Maliepetsane constituency said.
“The fact that we read the responses to the constituencies in the newspaper affirms the fact that the executive committee has lost its sense of administration.”
A senior party official who is also a former cabinet minister told this paper on Wednesday that the constituencies were only “trying to pull a fast one on Mosisili”.
“They are going to pull the carpet from under Mosisili’s feet. If they succeed in disbanding the committee, they will not retain him as party leader,” the official said.
“Mosisili might as well kiss goodbye to the leadership position of the LCD,” the official added.
In the meantime the Metsing-led faction which currently controls the executive committee has been using the Mololi newspaper to discredit the calls from the 17 constituencies.
In its editorial comment last week the paper said the constituencies calling for the dissolution of the executive committee are the real enemies of the party.
“Who, for instance is the enemy here? At one stage you claim your undying love and support for the leader of LCD; and you concern yourselves about his safety around the enemies in the NEC (sic),” the paper said.
“At a distant future; you no longer have confidence in the LCD leader and the rest of the NEC?”
“Would it not be wise to resort to the truth and tell the LCD members that what you really want is the leadership seat and end this vendetta of yours against the NEC?”
Party officials say this is directed by the Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki who is said to be leading a faction that wants to remove Metsing’s executive committee.