MASERU — A group of angry Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) youths on Friday turned the heat on Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki as the power struggle within the party rages on.
The youths told a press conference at the LCD headquarters in Maseru that the party’s youth and women’s leagues were drumming up support for Moleleki to take over the party leadership.
Tšoanelo Ramakeoane, Teboho Sekata, Papiki Papiki and Khotso Chele, all members of the LCD youth league, accused the two committees of sowing confusion in the party by fighting the succession war on Moleleki’s behalf.
The youths said since some sections of the party were calling for the resignation of Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing over the Wikileaks reports, Moleleki should also go since he attacked the First Family during discussions with United States diplomats.
“These two committees are sowing confusion in the party because they want to secure the LCD leadership position for Ntate Moleleki,” Ramakeoane said.
“They are out of control and are acting without the NEC (national executive committee)’s mandate. They use the power given to them by LCD members to distort issues. They need to be set straight,” the youths said.
Moleleki and Metsing are said to be leading rival factions within the LCD that are jostling to succeed Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
Both men have however denied leading any factions in the past.
The LCD was thrown into fresh turmoil in August after whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks, released a cable saying Metsing had expressed concerns over Mosisili’s dictatorial tendencies.
He is also said to have said Mosisili was reluctant to relinquish power, comments that were not received kindly by the youth league.
But Ramakeoane said the youth and women’s leagues “have taken to attacking Mr Metsing and calling for his resignation from government and the NEC. They have also asked the prime minister to fire him”.
“What they conveniently forget is the fact that Ntate Moleleki used a similar platform to insult the prime minister’s wife and son, calling the son an alcoholic. But they have not called for his resignation,” he said.
Wikileaks cables also revealed that in a 2006 meeting with another former US Ambassador to Lesotho, June Carter Perry, Moleleki, then Lesotho’s foreign affairs minister, called Mosisili’s son Rethabile “a drunkard”.
Moleleki is also alleged to have told Perry that Rethabile was also influencing Mosisili to ignore “resolutions that we have made”.
“What he (Moleleki) said in the Wikileaks is just as bad, but these committees are trying hard to convince people to let it pass because they support him,” Ramakeonae said.
He said LCD youths who are supporting Moleleki should treat the Wikileaks cables with great care because “there might be more allegations coming”.
Asked if they were not afraid of being expelled from the party for calling a press conference without permission, Papiki said no one within the party had the authority to expel them because “this is not a family political party”.
“This is not a family-orientated political party. We’re here to protect this party and Basotho,” Papiki said.
“We exist in a democratic dispensation where there’s freedom of speech. We’re merely expressing our opinion,” Ramakeoane said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, LCD youth league president, Mosala Mojakisane, scoffed at Ramakeoane and his peers’ allegations.
“In what capacity were they holding the press conference? Who gave them the mandate? Who are they in the LCD?” Mojakisane asked.
“I, Mojakisane, am a member of the NEC representing the youth league. What do they know about the business of the party?”
Mojakisane said the league was correct in trying to discipline Metsing and “we will not stop”.
“Ntate Metsing is the backbone of the party in his capacity as the secretary general. He’s the one responsible for setting people straight when they do wrong. Let him discipline Ntate Moleleki,” Mojakisane said.
“What about Ntate Metsing, who will discipline him when he gets out of control? If there’s no one to discipline him, we the LCD youth will do just that.”
The LCD women’s league secretary general, Rethabile Marumo, declined to comment saying she was still to be briefed about the allegations raised at Friday’s press conference.
“I know nothing about this, I’m just arriving from the Pan African Parliament,” Marumo said.