MASERU — The All Basotho Convention (ABC) women’s league spokesperson ’Mamandla ’Musa will challenge the current president ’Mamahele Radebe for the top post at the league’s November elective conference, the Sunday Express can reveal.
’Musa confirmed in an interview with this paper on Friday that she will throw her hat into the ring at the league’s elective conference.
Her decision to challenge Radebe for the presidency follows bitter complaints by the women’s wing that current league leaders had neglected their duties since they were appointed government ministers in June.
There are two ABC women’s league members who were appointed into cabinet by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in June. These are Radebe who was appointed Minister of Tourism and Dr Pinky Manamolele who is in charge of the Ministry of Health.
The ruling party’s women’s league currently consists of Radebe, ’Musa, Manamolele, treasurer ’Machabeli Letseka and ordinary members ’Mamosothoane Mosothoane and ’Mapule Pule.
Former secretary general Victoria Qheku defected to former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s main opposition Democratic Congress ahead of the May 26 general election.
’Musa said Radebe and Manamolele are finding it difficult to divide their time between party and cabinet business because “they are overworked”.
“I’m not saying they have neglected their duties. All I’m saying is that they are overworked and can’t put much effort into the ABC women’s league,” ’Musa said.
“After they were appointed into cabinet, there’s this gap between them and the ABC women. To sum it up, the connection is lost.”
’Musa claimed she was the said perfect candidate to take over the presidency of the ABC women’s wing because she had in her tenure of office as spokesperson “managed to sell the party”.
“We were able to build branch and constituency women’s committees while at the same time helping bury the dead for destitute families,” ’Musa said.
“We’ve also comforted and counselled families of ritual murder victims. I also in my native Teyateyaneng visited female prisoners to assure them that there’s life after prison.”
’Musa also took credit for convincing Deputy Prime Minister and LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing to enter into a coalition government with the ABC and Basotho National Party (BNP) because “divisive politics were detrimental to the development of the Basotho people”.
“That softened his (Metsing’s) heart and made him realise that as Basotho we have a lot in common,” ’Musa said.
“As for the BNP leader (Thesele ’Maseribane), it was easy to get through to him because we have struggled together, keeping vigil at the Royal Palace in 1998.”
’Musa also described herself as an individual who possessed the skills of helping people to “be on the same wavelength in their assessment of situations”.
“Because women are classy creatures who also suffer from the so-called ‘Pull Her Down’ syndrome, I’m the ideal candidate to help them do away with their bad attitudes,” ’Musa said.
Contacted for comment, Radebe said it was “up to the ABC women to elect their favourite candidate”.
She was also adamant that she would not openly “campaign to be re-elected”.
“If they re-elect me, it’s fine. It’s also okay if they don’t. What I won’t do is campaign to be elected the ABC women’s league president. That I just won’t do,” Radebe said.
Asked whether it was true that she and Manamolele had abandoned the women’s league, Radebe said issues raised by the ABC women were “simply petty”.
“These are very petty issues, but all this will end at the elective conference. But I must say that whoever they choose to succeed me, I will support them,” Radebe said.
“Just let them make their own choice on November 10, I’m a happy woman.”
Radebe however added that if she is not re-elected the ABC women’s league president “it will ease the load off my shoulders” and give her more time to “concentrate on my ministerial duties”.
The tourism minister said it was also “quite odd” that the ABC women were complaining when “we’ve only just been appointed ministers”.
However, Radebe was quick to add she had served the women’s league loyally for the past three years.
“For example, the ABC did not really exist in the Hololo constituency where I’m from but I did all in my power to build party structures here,” Radebe said.
“The party also went through turbulent times with people leaving and we had to fight to keep it together.
“A good example is the most recent departure of our women’s league secretary general (Qheku) to the DC.”