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BCP faction prepares for conference

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Nat Molomo

MASERU — A faction of the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) will hold its annual conference on July 23-24 to elect a new national executive committee.
The decision comes in the wake of a June 22 High Court ruling which dismissed an application by party stalwart, Sello Molati, who wanted the court to compel the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) national executive committee to hold a special conference.
High Court judge Justice Semapo Peete ruled that there was confusion surrounding the name Basotho and Basutoland Congress Party “which are being “conscientiously used to describe a single (but divided) political party”.
In an interview with the Sunday Express on Thursday, Matsobane Putsoa, a Maseru businessman and party veteran, said the Basutoland Congress Party had formed a body called “the Committee of 17” whose mandate was to resuscitate the BCP.
“I find it easy that now that the Basotho Congress Party is no longer amongst us, we should elect an interim committee to resuscitate the party with a view to holding a general conference,” he said.
The committee informed party constituencies in a circular dated May 25 that it had resolved to call an annual conference on July 23-24 at a venue still to be decided.
Each constituency will be represented by not more than 10 delegates who are paid up members of the party.
The constituencies are also requested to have three delegates who will act as chairman, secretary and constituency treasurer.
Former BCP leader, Ntsukunayane Mphanya, is the chairman of the Committee of 17, which is named after the 1952 Committee of 17 which laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Basutoland Congress Party from then Basutoland African Congress (BAC).
According to Putsoa, he was invited to a meeting of the “Concerned members of the BCP” which took place on Sunday, June 26 at the LOIC buildings in Maseru.
“The meeting noted that at the Law Office the party’s registered name is Basutoland Congress Party not Basotho Congress Party,” Putsoa said.
He said he was surprised to realise that the party’s constitution had been changed.
“Conspicuous changes were the change of the name from Basutoland to Basotho Congress Party, and the manner of calling special conference.”
Putsoa said according to the party’s constitution, a special conference could be called by three constituencies as opposed to 10, which is provided for in the new change.
“One would expect that these changes would be raised at a national conference, but the situation is that lately when one raises issues, one gets attacked, even though I myself have never been attacked, or labelled a rebel,” he said.
Justice Peete on June 22 noted that two factions clearly existed “and it is all there for the court to see, but not for the court to settle”.
“The dilemma that faced the applicant (Sello Molati) was a self-created one in that they described their party quite differently.
“They (applicants) acted at cross-purposes, that is why the Pela-Ts’oeu Constituency Committee members were not in the records of second respondent (Basotho Congress Party) because it described itself as Basutoland Congress Party, and the second respondent called its party Basotho Congress Party,” Justice Peete said in his ruling.

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