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BNP, BDNP reconciliation talks hit the rocks

Matšeliso Motšoane

MASERU — The Basotho National Party (BNP) and its break-away Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP)’s talks for a reunion are already showing signs of disharmony barely six months after they began.
The leaders of the two parties, BDNP’s Thabang Nyeoe and BNP’s Thesele ’Maseribane, initiated the merger in January seven years after the BDNP broke away from the BNP.
The talks were led by secretary generals of the parties, Moeketsi Hanyane for BDNP and Moletsane Jonathan for the BNP.
The talks are facing serious problems after the BDNP raised concerns that the BNP leadership had breached their agreement, which they say displays their untrustworthiness.
In a statement issued on Tuesday last week, Hanyane attacked ’Maseribane and general secretary Jonathan for breaching the agreement by making a public statement on two different occasions on the talks.
Their agreement was that they would always make a joint statement to the public.
Hanyane complained that ’Maseribane addressed a public gathering where he talked about the possible merger between the two parties while Jonathan talked about it over state-owned Radio Lesotho on June 17 and 18 respectively.
What irked Hanyane is that the BNP talked about the merger initiative at a time when it was no longer happening.
“Statements by the BNP leadership that discussions between the two parties are continuing and that they are close to reaching an agreement are not true,” Hanyane said.
Hanyane revealed that the BDNP is preparing for local government and constituency by-elections independently.
“We encourage the BDNP followers not to be confused by these statements, instead they should focus on preparing for either local government or constituency by-elections,” he said.
“There will be talks only if the BNP leadership is committed to negotiate genuinely and when that happens we will let you and the entire Basotho nation know.”
Talks between the two parties started before last year’s general elections but they did not succeed because each of them was preoccupied with election preparations.
On January 10 they restarted the talks and each party was assigned a role to play to make the merger possible.
They were to meet again on January 24.
When that day arrived, Hanyane says, Jonathan sent apologies for not attending the talks and they were postponed.
“Since then, the BDNP tried all possible avenues to have the talks held without success until today when we make this statement,” he said.
The BNP spokesperson Tšepo Monethi distanced the party from Jonathan’s statements.
He said he is the sole spokesperson of the BNP and if the party had wanted to make a media statement “it should have been through me”.
“The party has never sent me to say anything on these talks and therefore it has not officially issued any statement,” Monethi said.
He however declined to comment on ’Maseribane’s statements at the public gathering where he mentioned the possible merger with the BDNP.

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