THE feud in the Reformed Congress of Lesotho’s (RCL) is far from over after some senior party officials rejected exiled leader, Keketso Rantšo’s plea for party members to bury their differences and work for the common good.
Ms Rantšo made the plea in a telephone interview with the Sunday Express after the High Court on Thursday threw out an application by party Secretary-General ’Mamolula Ntabe seeking to call off a party conference that had been called by RCL’s Deputy Secretary-General Maseithati Mabeleng
A storm has been brewing in the RCL since last October when Ms Ntabe announced exiled party leader Keketso Rantšo and deputy leader, Motloheloa Phooko had resigned from their positions fueling speculation of a power struggle in the year-old party.
However, Ms Rantšo and Dr Phooko denied the claim, saying it was a ploy to destabilise the party.
Ms Ntabe has been accused of having joined forces with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), of which the RCL is an offshoot – an allegation she has vehemently denied.
Ms Rantšo, Dr Phooko and RCL youth league leader Retšelisitsoe Lesane have been linked to one of the contending factions, while Ms Ntabe and other NEC members are linked to the other.
The feud intensified after the RCL’s Deputy Secretary-General Maseithati Mabeleng tried to by-pass Ms Ntabe by calling for a party conference – which is the latter’s prerogative.
Ms Ntabe responded by lodging a High Court application last November seeking to call off the conference which was thrown out on Thursday.
And in the aftermath of the court ruling, Ms Rantšo sought to heal the rift within the party saying although “the courts have spoken, all that I ask is that we all forget what is in the past and focus on the growth and development of the party for the common good of all cadres”.
“All that I want is peace within the party,” she added.
She said despite the loss, Ms Ntabe acted within her rights to go to court as she felt aggrieved and that was the essence of democracy.
Ms Ntabe was not reachable on her mobile phone for comment but party spokesperson, Moshe Kopanye dismissed the olive branch extended by Ms Rantšo, saying it had come a little too late.
“We wanted to talk to her before the situation spiralled out of control and she denied us that chance and it’s only now that she pretends to see our worth when she has been ignoring our pleas,” Mr Kopanye said, adding “We might sit and talk but we shall never reach common ground”.
“What the leader is portraying is hypocrisy of highest order and even if we wished, it is never going to be the same.
“It is not going to be as easy as she thinks because she has ignored us for way too long and now that she sees that some of her followers are leaving for other political parties she wants us to talk,” Mr Kopanye said.
Mr Kopanye said the court ruling had definitely empowered Ms Rantšo and Dr Phooko while emasculating the NEC which was “but nothing”.
“We will soon meet to strategise on how best to go forward as the NEC in the absence of the leader, her deputy and the deputy Secretary General because they are not a part of us,” he said, adding, “We don’t need them as much as they don’t need us”.