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‘Metsing camp behind no-confidence vote’

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MASERU — Last week’s failed attempt to pass a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was masterminded by the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing and his deputy Lebohang Nts’inyi, an opposition leader claims.
Jeremane Ramathebane, the leader of the Basotho Batho Democratic Party, also claims that former trade minister Mpho Malie was also party to the failed opposition “coup d’état”.
Malie is the current chairman of the LCD elders’ committee.
Malie and Ntšinyi have rejected the claims as unfounded and malicious.
The opposition parties wanted to pass a no-confidence vote against Mosisili on Thursday and replace him with Metsing.
The plot however collapsed at the eleventh hour when Metsing rejected the nomination saying the people behind the motion had not consulted him before suggesting him as Mosisili’s replacement.
Metsing wrote to National Assembly speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai asking that his name be withdrawn from the motion.
But in an interview on Wednesday Ramathebane told the Sunday Express that it was cowardly of Metsing to withdraw his name from the motion because the proposed motion was his camp’s idea in the first place.
Ramathebane alleges that Ntšinyi and Malie approached leaders of the opposition to help them pass the motion against the Mosisili-led administration in the august House.
He also alleged that a series of meetings between the Metsing camp and the opposition were held “religiously at Ntšinyi’s residence situated at Moorosi Street in Maseru West”.
“Ntšinyi and Malie came to us as opposition leaders in parliament to help the Metsing faction pass a vote of no confidence against the LCD-led government,” Ramathebane said.
Metsing leads a faction of the LCD which controls the administration of the party, the national executive committee, while Mosisili is seen to be supporting a rival faction led by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.
Both factions have been entangled in a vicious battle for the control of the LCD for the past two years.
The leaders who announced news of the motion were All Basotho Convention’s Thomas Thabane, Lesotho People’s Congress’s Kelebone Maope, Marematlou Freedom Party’s Moeketse Malebo, Lesotho Workers’ Party’s Sello Maphalla, the Popular Front for Democracy’s Thabang Kholumo, Basotho Batho Democratic Party’s Jeremane Ramathebane and Basotho National Party’s Thesele ‘Maseribane.
Ramathebane said: “We agreed to jump on board because we also have our concerns about this government.”
If Metsing was not part of the motion, Ramathebane said, he should have sued us instead of withdrawing his name.
“No person can use the word withdraw if he was never part of the plan to begin with. If he wasn’t consulted, he should have dragged us to court, not write a letter to Madam Speaker.”
The BBDP leader added that after they had agreed to work as a team against Mosisili’s government, the only stumbling block was the name of a candidate who would be nominated for the premiership should the motion succeeds.
However, the two parties differed on a candidate to be chosen, with opposition leaders pushing for either Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla or deputy national assembly speaker, Sephiri Motanyane.
“But because Ntšinyi and Malie were adamant that Metsing should be the candidate nominated for the post, we eventually relented,” Ramathebane said.
Ramathebane compared the opposition’s relation with the Metsing faction as “a failed love affair”.
“Ntšinyi and Malie proposed love to us as the opposition on Metsing’s behalf and like a naïve young girl, we accepted the proposal and embraced Metsing.
“We slept with Metsing and got pregnant. We carried Metsing’s child and gave birth to it. Then out of the blue Metsing turns around and says the child is not his? He says that the child is illegitimate?”
Ramathebane described Metsing as a “coward who could easily fire Mosisili and his camp from the LCD but instead chose to flee with weapons held tightly in his hands”.
“This is indeed funny. The Metsing faction has executive powers to expel the Mosisili faction from the LCD. They are cowards. They are running away although they have the tools to fight,” Ramathebane said.
He said the Metsing faction called the opposition to Ntsi’nyi’s house on Wednesday at 10am, before the motion was scheduled for discussion, to inform them that they had resolved to withdraw Metsing’s name claiming that they were being intimidated by their colleagues in the LCD.
“They told us that they had been threatened by their colleagues in the LCD and that as a result Metsing would withdraw his name,” he added.
“At least they were honest and had the courtesy to inform us beforehand that Metsing would withdraw his name from the motion.”
To drive his point home, Ramathebane challenged this paper to ask BNP leader ‘Maseribane to explain what he was doing with other political leaders at Nts’inyi’s house at that time.
When contacted for comment, Nts’inyi said Ramathebane’s allegations would only have credence if they were corroborated by other opposition leaders.
“‘Ramathebane has his own way of thinking. I will not dignify what he says with a response. Let him say what he wants, he has his own agenda and political points to score,” Nts’inyi said.
“I will just let Ramathebane say what he wants to say if that will help advance his politics,” she said.
Malie told this paper that Ramathebane’s allegations were defamatory and that he would “not dignify them with a response”.
“I am not even in parliament for heaven’s sake. Why would I want to be involved in parliamentary issues?
“It’s a fabricated story I know absolutely nothing about it,” Malie said.
Ramathebane also dared this paper to question Kose Makoa, an LCD MP aligned to the pro-Moleleki faction, why he had been spying on the opposition during their meetings at Nts’iny’s house.
Ramathebane alleged Makoa only left after he was chased away by occupants in a white 4×4 vehicle.
Although Makoa denied spying on the opposition and the Metsing faction, he admitted once passing by Nts’inyi’s house.
He said he was returning from a visit to Forestry Minister Kabelo Mafura’s house when he saw many cars belonging to LCD MPs parked at the driveway.
“It was quite suspicious and unusual, the fact that there were too many of the cars belonging to my fellow MPs parked there at ‘M’e Nts’inyi’s house,” Makoa said.
“I cannot deny that I saw the white car and it came after me as I drove away. But I swear I was not spying on them.”
‘Maseribane’s phone went unanswered yesterday when this paper tried to get a comment from him.
Another opposition leader who requested anonymity told this paper that their decision to feign shock at Metsing’s withdrawal of his nomination was actually “to protect Metsing”.
“We did consult with him and he agreed. But on the day the plan was announced, his faction was threatened and intimidated with the possibility of expulsion,” the leader said.
“We also advised that he withdraw his name and that we as opposition leaders would deal with the embarrassment of it all, as long as he was safe.”
The reason, the leader said, was that they had seen many MPs who crossed the floor from their parties, particularly the LCD, “only to starve and lose their political clout”.
“We’ve seen political heavyweights crossing the floor with Maope and Thabane, but then disappeared into political oblivion.”

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