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By-elections imminent as another DC MP dies

Billy Ntaote


MASERU — The main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) has suffered yet another blow with the recent death of its Thaba Phechela constituency MP, Molahlehi Malefane. With the dreadlocked and energetic Malefane’s death early last week, the DC has lost a third constituency seat out of a total of the 48 it garnered in the May 2012 elections, whittling its parliamentary seats to 45.

And with the three constituencies’ by-elections now imminent, there is no guarantee that the former ruling party will maintain its pre-election performance and retain the highly sought-after seats. Vying for the three seats are Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and sports minister Thesele ‘Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP), all partners in Lesotho’s first coalition government established last year after the May 26 poll produced a hung parliament.

The DC is however appealing the pending by-election in the Tele constituency won by Ndiwuhleli Ndlomose.

Ndlomose’s result was challenged by the LCD’s Doreen Chaoana-Mapetja, the party’s candidate for last year’s national assembly poll. The High Court in April ruled in favour of Chaoana-Mapetja, but the dissatisfied DC filed its appeal papers on September 25, in an attempt to nullify the high court instructing that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) hold a by election in the Tele constituency.

Meanwhile in April, the party’s Thaba Moea constituency MP, Mokhokoli Seutloali, died thus leaving a vacancy in the constituency.

Speaking at a rally in the Bela-Bela constituency on Independence Day, DC leader and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, announced that the party was mourning not only the loss of Malefane but also that of its chairman Lebamang Maqaleha, who recently passed away after a long illness.

Mosisili said while they were moaning Maqaleha’s passing, they were shaken by the death of Malefane who had also “been battling a prolonged illness”. Maqaleha is the former MP for the Mechechane constituency under the banner of the LCD before he defected to the DC.

He however lost the constituency to the LCD’s Apesi Rats’ele in last year’s poll. Mosisili reminded the party that it lost Seutloali, while at the same time Ndlomose lost control of the Tele constituency after losing a court battle.

Mosisili described both deaths as “a great loss to the DC and to Lesotho”.

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