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BNP conference: the facts

Ranthomeng Matete


MASERU — I read with disappointment the twisted and unscientific reportage by this paper’s Political Editor Bongiwe Zihlangu on an otherwise simple and straightforward matter of the retention of General Metsing Lekhanya as leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), following the recent first session of the party’s annual general conference

In the April 18 issue of the Sunday Express

I am the more disappointed because I had endeavoured, in the spirit of cooperation with media workers, to give her a first-hand brief on the no-confidence motion which had been moved at the BNP’s conference held on March 19-21.

My objective was not to stuff words in her pen, but to highlight a constitutional clause which was a trite fact and an objective reality.

Briefly stated, I had appraised Zihlangu of Clause 11(8) (c) (iii) of the BNP constitution which stipulates a two-thirds majority as a necessary condition for a leader to be removed from power by a no-confidence vote.

This clause was not surreptitiously put into the constitution after the vote of no confidence.

Rather, it has been a standing feature of the party’s constitution, which was democratically formulated and finally adopted at the BNP’s December 2007 annual general conference.

It goes without saying that as long as the clause remains part of the constitution, it will be used in appropriate circumstances — and BNP leaders will only be removed by a two-thirds majority.

Of course party members are free and have always had the space to amend any clause of the constitution if they so wish.

This particular clause is not exempted from amendment.

As I have said elsewhere, I wish to emphasise here that the constitution is the supreme legal document which regulates the life of the party, and the present leadership case is one of the areas in which this instrument offers regulation and guidance.

Those who have not been part of its formulation have very little excuse to point self-righteous fingers at its provisions.

This is not even to suggest that members of the party who are not gratified by the outcome and implications of the recent no-confidence vote cannot contemplate lawful means of circumventing the equation.

The bottom line is that the sacrosanctity of the party’s constitution should be accorded high consideration at all times by the entire membership and leadership.

But to suggest, as Zihlangu has done, that the dictate of a precise clause of the constitution is tantamount to a “plan” by Lekhanya supporters to keep the individual in power is an absurdity.

Perhaps this should be hardly surprising in view of the recorded litany of distortions and half-truths fabricated over time by the Sunday Express or its sister publication, the Lesotho Times.

Somebody appears to be hell-bent on a mission of destruction and mischief.

This would be regrettable because it does not contribute even an iota of help to responsible journalism, which is so vital towards nation-building and consolidation in Lesotho.

I am not even sure that my appeal for you (the editor) to bring Zihlangu to order by impressing upon her the imperative to treat matters of fact with introspection would be of any value to you.

Be that as it may, I am making this appeal in the hope that it will not be obfuscated by the stupendous demands of cheque-book journalism.


(“New plan to save Lekhanya”), Zihlangu claimed what she calls “supporters of Metsing Lekhanya” had hatched a plan to insulate him from manoeuvres to push him out of power.


Ranthomeng Matete is the BNP’s secretary-general.

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