LERIBE — We stabbed ourselves in the back.
That was the message that Democratic Congress (DC) leader Pakalitha Mosisili was preaching to the party’s faithful in Hlotse yesterday.
The leadership conference, that saw 1 031 delegates in attendance, was the first since the party’s formation in February.
Mosisili bemoaned the bitter divisions that saw him ditch the former ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party to form the DC.
“As we kick off the conference today, let us confront one another with the truth and try to avoid mistakes of the past lest we trample on the blazing coal that burnt us in the past,” Mosisili said.
“The May 26 election results are a true testimony that we stabbed ourselves in the back as the congress movement by splitting. We ate our stomachs off like a wild rat.”
Mosisili quit the LCD in February and formed the DC following a bruising two-year factional fight within the former ruling party.
But the DC came short where it mattered most in the May election when it failed to win a clear majority.
His administration was then replaced by a coalition government led by Thomas Thabane with the LCD and Basotho National Party (BNP) parties as junior partners.
The former premier urged his supporters to let honesty be their guiding principle “for the sustenance and growth of the DC”.
“When we formed the DC, we took an oath that the truth would be our guiding principle,” Mosisili said.
“Our slogan which says the truth is our shield, shouldn’t be taken lightly. It should be our vow and obligation to this party. The DC should take after its name, a truly democratic institution.”
He alleged that they left the LCD after “realising that the truth was suppressed and the constitution defied. The party did also not respect rulings made by courts of law”.
“Ours should be a democratic political home where the executive committee does not stand in the way of people’s wishes,” Mosisili said.
Mosisili said it was time for the DC to go on a journey of self-reflection adding it was a challenge for some people to see things for what they are because they have their preconceived ideas “of what the truth is like”.
“When I look at myself in the mirror, I see an old man. Then I ask, Pakalitha, is this you? I then pinch myself to ensure it’s really me that I’m seeing,” Mosisili said.
“That’s why today’s self-reflection should come from an honest place and be a genuine one. Start this conference with the DC’s and this nation’s best interests at heart.”
Among those who attended the conference were deputy leader Monyane Moleleki, secretary general Ralechate ‘Mokose, deputy secretary general Semano Sekatle, women’s league president Pontšo Sekatle, treasurer ‘Mamphono Khaketla and senior party officials including MPs.
“When we had just formed the DC, I advised against falling out in the middle of our journey. I also warned against drowning in the glory of your success,” Mosisili said.
He said when the LCD was formed as a breakaway party of the BCP in 1997, the former enjoyed success at the polls “which unfortunately ran to our heads”.
“Some people allowed that success to run to their heads, thus resulting in clashes. How are things today? The mighty LCD has fallen,” Mosisili said.
“The LCD has fallen so flat that it came a distant third at the May 26 election. One wise man once said ‘how the mighty have fallen’? Today the LCD has to enter into a coalition government to remain relevant.”
The DC won 41 constituency seats but failed to get the 61-seat simple majority to form government.
The ABC came second with 26 constituencies while the LCD got just 12 seats.
Mosisili added that the state the LCD is in today should be attributed to “avarice, impatience and intolerance”.
“Research has established that had we not split, we’d have won 76 constituencies with the ABC coming a distant second with just four,” Mosisili said.
“Toala (ABC) had died politically, it was history. But we the congress movement revived it. Some might say I’m crying over spilt milk but I couldn’t care less,” he said.
The former premier added that despite the split, the DC was guided by God’s truth which resulted in the LCD “eating humble pie”.
Mosisili said DC delegates should realise that “divisions have never benefited anyone”.
“This is me trying to alert you to the fact that engaging in divisions will result in you reaping bitter fruit. I urge you to shun and avoid divisions by all means,” Mosisili said.
“Today the DC has to rejoice for its successes, work on its weaknesses and strive towards improvement.”