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‘Malebo running MFP like personal fiefdom’

Caswell Tlali & ’Marafaele Mohloboli MASERU — A Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) stalwart has accused party leader Moeketse Malebo of running the party like his personal fiefdom.

David Ntšihlele, an octogenarian who joined the party in 1963, accused Malebo of failing to hold an elective conference for the party.

He told the Sunday Express that the MFP last held an elective conference in 2005.

“Since 2005 the MFP has not held an elective conference thereby violating one of the fundamental pillars of democracy,” Ntšihlele said.

He said there were people within the MFP who were occupying leadership “positions they were not elected to”.

Ntšihlele also accused Malebo of allowing his wife, ’Mathabang Malebo, to “hold herself out as a chairperson of the MFP women’s league knowing well that we do not have such a league”.

He said as a result of the party’s failure to hold an elective conference the MFP was in danger of being disqualified from contesting this year’s election.

Under the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s rules all political parties must prove that they hold elective conferences as per their own constitutions.

A party that fails to hold such conferences risks being barred from taking part in national elections.

Ntšihlele said he was challenging Malebo to hold an elective conference before this year’s general election expected around May.

He said party supporters were surprised when ‘Mathabang was listed as number three on the MFP proportional representation seats list despite that she was relatively new in the party.

“’Mathabang joined the MFP six months before the holding of the national election in 2007 but to the surprise of us all she was all of a sudden listed on the party PR list,” Ntšihlele said.

He said delegates at the last MFP elective conference in 2005 resolved that the party leadership would be listed for the PR seats according to the order of seniority but “to the surprise of everybody Malebo’s wife, a new member who was not in the executive committee, was number three on the list.”

“We are compelled to conclude that Malebo is running the MFP like his family property,” Ntšihlele said.

Several attempts to get Malebo and his wife to respond to the allegations were not successful as his phone went on voicemail.

But Tlali Tlali, a member of the MFP who sources say is being groomed to take over the leadership of the party, said they were currently “preoccupied with the national election”.

“The conference will surely come because it is a constitutional requirement as well as a good practice in a democratic society,” Tlali said.

“If the IEC forces us to hold the conference before the election we will have no option but to do as required,” he said.

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