MASERU — The working committee of the Basotho National Party (BNP) has overruled the youth league’s decision to suspend its president Tšeliso Lesenya from all youth activities for allegedly “sowing seeds of disunity within the party”.
In its memo dated September 21 and presented to the NEC, the youth committee accused Lesenya of intentionally and maliciously disrespecting resolutions of the party leadership, treacherously and falsely misleading a BNP conference as well as allegedly breaching the party’s constitution “to advance his selfish interests”.
Furthermore, the youth committee charged Lesenya for allegedly engaging in tireless efforts to sow seeds of discord and mistrust within the league “in disgusting pursuance of his personal gains”.
The youth committee added in its memo that Lesenya would remain suspended “pending final findings of the NEC”.
However, the party’s National Coordinator Tšita Letsie on Tuesday told the Sunday Express that the accusations levelled against Lesenya were “unfounded and baseless”.
“The charges against him as presented before the working committee by the overseer of the youth and women’s leagues Morena Joang Molapo the deputy leader of the party did not warrant consideration by the working committee,” Tšita said.
“The alleged charges against him (Lesenya) were dismissed as baseless, unfounded and not consistent with the provisions of the party’s constitution. Even the move to suspend him was unconstitutional,” added Tšita.
According to Letsie, the constitution of the party provided that the leader is the last stop for “a move as outrageous as the suspension of any member of the party”.
“The constitution stipulates that upon the airing of a complaint, a disciplinary committee shall be formed to deliberate on the matter and make its pronouncement, after which it shall pass its decision on to the leader for validation or even review,” Letsie said.
In the Lesenya saga however, Letsie added, no disciplinary committee was formed.
Letsie added that procedurally, Lesenya should have been granted the opportunity to respond to the allegations levelled against him.
Letsie’s assertion was reiterated by the deputy leader Molapo.
He said upon receipt of the youth league’s concerns, he had alerted the working committee who had deliberated on it and decided that the matter was not dealt with procedurally.
“We told them (youth league) that the decision to suspend Lesenya was not in line with the party’s disciplinary procedures” he said.
“The matter was not treated with the fairness it deserved since Lesenya was not accorded the right of reply,” Molapo told this paper yesterday.
When contacted for comment Lesenya said he only learnt of his alleged suspension in the media.
“I heard on radio as well as in the papers that Manama Letsie was claiming that I had been suspended from my position as the leader of the BNP youth league,” Lesenya said.
“I remain the legitimate president of the BNP national youth committee until the next youth league elective conference,” Lesenya said from Mokhotlong where he said he was on official duty as president of the party’s youth league.
“My alleged suspension was as a result of a personal vendetta by a certain clique within the youth league hence it was dismissed by the working committee as baseless”.
“The proof is in the fact that I am on duty for the youth league of the BNP, even my Secretary-General Khotso Ramokhele knows my whereabouts and what I am doing here,” he said.
Meanwhile the BNP youth league treasurer Mohalenyane Masasa insists that Lesenya has been suspended.
“At a youth league committee sitting of September 21 2013, a unanimous decision was reached that Lesenya be suspended with immediate effect,” Masasa said.
He said even the fact that Lesenya claimed he was still the chairperson of the youth league committee in the know of Khotso Ramokhele was further proof of his misconduct as Ramokhele had long been relieved of his responsibilities as the youth league secretary-general.
“A decision to unseat Ramokhele was reached unanimously in the very presence of the same Mr. Lesenya, so referring to him as the youth league’s secretary-general is misleading,” Masasa said.
The Sunday Express saw a copy of the minutes from the meeting of the youth league convened on August 25 2012 wherein a decision was reached to remove Ramokhele from office because of “a lengthy absence from the youth league affairs” and install Joseph Letooane in his place.
The tenure of office of the current youth league committee is expected to end at the next elective conference scheduled for either January or February 2014.
By then Lesenya, aged 37, would not stand for re-election as he has passed the 35-year age threshold for one to be a member youth.