THE opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party’s youth league this week launched an unprecedented attack on the party’s leadership.
In a strongly worded statement, the league blasted the ABC’s acting secretary-general Sam Rapapa for writing a circular censuring them for their “unruly behaviour” at party rallies.
They said they did not recognise Rapapa as the acting secretary-general because he was never introduced to them.
Following that stinging statement, the youth league’s publicity secretary Jane Mohoalohoalo was immediately suspended.
In the following interview we speak to Mohoalohoalo about his suspension, the youth’s attack on Rapapa and the general problems that have rocked the party.
SE: This week the ABC’s youth league came out guns blazing to attack the party’s acting secretary-general Sam Rapapa. What motivated that strongly worded statement from the youths?
MOHOALOHOALO: We don’t know Sam Rapapa. At the party’s national conference held in Mazenod we did not elect such a person. We elected Macaefa Billy. He was never introduced to us as the acting secretary-general of the party. We know Rapapa as the treasurer. How can you have one person holding the position of treasurer and acting secretary-general in a big party like the ABC?
SE: So your problem is that his appointment was never communicated to you?
MOHOALOHOALO: The lack of communication is the major problem. Why did the national executive committee not report to the party constituencies and other committees about Rapapa’s appointment? Why do we have to discover about new appointments in the party through the grapevine?
SE: So you don’t have a problem with Rapapa as a person?
MOHOALOHOALO: We are saying Rapapa should have been introduced to the party structures. But that’s not our only concern. We are also saying Rapapa’s actions as the acting secretary-general are now damaging the good name of the party. The ABC is not a company. It is not his personal property. The national committee must also realise that it is there to run the party’s affairs on a day-to-day basis. It is not there to impose its decisions on the party. It is not there to control the party. The national committee must report to the party members. We cannot have a situation where the members have to hear about major decisions affecting the party from the rumour mill.
SE: Are you therefore saying that the national committee has failed to run the party properly?
MOHOALOHOALO: The problem with the national committee is that it is running the party like their company. They think they can expel people as and when they want. They think they can change things without consulting the members. A political party does not work like that. It has constituencies, committees and branches that must be consulted on major decisions. In a political party you are obligated to consult the people at the bottom. What surprises us is that while they are doing all these bad things they are forgetting that they have a clear mandate that they were given at the conference in Mazenod. There are key issues that the conference said the committee must deal with immediately.
SE: What are those issues?
MOHOALOHOALO: The conference said we need to start our own newspaper as soon as possible but that has not yet been done. The conference said the national committee must ensure that the party’s constitution is amended within the next six months but they have failed to do that.
SE: Are you saying that the ABC’s national committee is dysfunctional?
MOHOALOHOALO: Yes, it’s not working. Things are not working. There are people in the working committee who have clandestine meetings every week to discuss the operations of the party. From there they make decisions that affect the party. Those are the things that are bringing down our good party.
SE: You paint a gloomy picture of the ABC. Do you think that the party will make any significant gains in the next election under the current national committee?
MOHOALOHOALO: The ABC can succeed under the current leader (Tom Thabane) but not under the current national committee. The national committee has no direction.
SE: We have just received news that you have been suspended for the statement you wrote and the comments you made in the media about Rapapa. And as we speak now you say you are on your way to the party’s conference. What will happen if they bar you from entering the conference?
MOHOALOHOALO: I am going to the conference to participate. It is my right to attend that conference. But if they refuse me entry I will not force my way into the conference.
SE: You received your letter of suspension on Thursday from Rapapa, the same man you spoke strongly against. What does that letter say are the reasons for your suspension?
MOHOALOHOALO: The letter says I commented about the leader’s visit to Tanzania some time ago. They say I made some offensive statements about that trip in the media. They also say I wrote the statement that was attacking Rapapa this week.
SE: But you made that statement in your capacity as the publicity secretary of the youth league. That statement came from the youth league and not you as an individual.
MOHOALOHOALO: I am also surprised by the suspension letter. It’s confusing that the national committee could suspend me for a statement that was made by the whole youth league leadership. The other allegation that I attacked Thabane’s trip to Tanzania is even more puzzling. I made those statements a long time ago and they should have censured me then if they had genuine concerns. I think they are just cooking up charges against me.
SE: Is the youth league leadership behind you?
MOHOALOHOALO: Of course they are behind me all the way. I did not write that statement alone. I received instructions from the youth league leadership. I merely conveyed the concerns of the youth league.
SE: There has been speculation that the youth league is against the national committee’s decision to fire secretary-general Macaefa Billy. Some say the youths are also against the decision to abandon the alliance with the Lesotho Workers Party (LWP). Is this speculation true?
MOHOALOHOALO: The youth league has said the decision to fire Billy and abandon the alliance with the LWP must lie with the conference. They are not decisions that should be made by the national committee alone. They have no mandate to do that. We are also saying that it would be a very good thing if the alliance is maintained. We need to fight as a team.