. . . as Lirurubele faction threatens to expose ‘corrupt’ MPs
THE Democratic Congress (DC) faction linked to Police Minister Monyane Moleleki says it will soon “expose” party members benefiting from a controversial vehicle fleet tender.
The threat is the latest development in an escalating feud between Mr Moleleki’s Lirurubele (loosely translated to butterflies) and Lithope (girlfriends) aligned to party leader, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
DC Deputy Secretary-General Refiloe Litjobo told the Sunday Express the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) would soon expose Members of Parliament who “used their status for their own self-enrichment” in the vehicle fleet contract that was awarded to Bidvest Fleet Company in June this year.
The Lirurubele faction, which is aligned to the DC’s NEC and youth league, has been vociferous in its criticism of the government’s decision to award the contract to the South African firm and agitated for its termination so it can be awarded to a joint venture company, Lebelonyane, fighting the deal in the courts.
The DC’s NEC and youth league accused DC treasurer and Finance Minister Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla of disregarding due process in awarding the tender to Bidvest at the expense of Lebelonyane that had been recommended for the contract.
In addition to the fleet contract saga, the DC is also enmeshed in a leadership succession fight with Lirurubele faction fighting for deputy leader Mr Moleleki to take over the party reins from Dr Mosisili before his term expires in 2018.
Mr Moleleki also recently admitted talks to form a new government with All Basotho Convention leader and former premier Thomas Thabane were ongoing.
The feud over the multi-million maloti tender, administered by a ministry run by the DC itself, is seen as clear evidence the main coalition government party has virtually split in the middle.
For many observers, it is no longer a matter of if, but when the main seven-party coalition partner will split given the seemingly irreconcilable fissures between the rival factions.
The DC formed a coalition government with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, Popular Front for Democracy, Lesotho People’s Congress, Basotho Congress Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and National Independent Party after the 28 February 2015 snap election had resulted in a hung parliament.
Mr Litjobo said they would soon provide “evidence” of DC MPs who “serve their own interests instead those of the party and the Basotho nation”.
His ire was primarily directed at DC spokesperson Serialong Qoo, who this past week accused the NEC of plotting to oust him and Dr Mosisili.
Mr Qoo claimed the NEC had planned to ambush him and Dr Mosisili with suspension letters during a meeting that was scheduled for last Wednesday.
However, the meeting was only attended by a few members of the NEC who could not form a quorum and was ultimately postponed indefinitely.
The Sunday Express has since learnt that Dr Mosisili’s supporters had stormed the party headquarters brandishing sticks with the intention to “deal with” the NEC only to discover no such meeting had taken place.
Mr Qoo told this paper he had learnt of the alleged suspension plot through a Facebook post and “decided not to take the issue lightly”.
“The Facebook post stated that after we were suspended together with my leader, the party would hold a press conference to announce a decision to withdraw the party from the coalition government,” he said.
“After I realised the NEC meeting would not take place, I went to the party’s offices and allayed the fears of party members who had gathered to confront the NEC.”
However, Mr Litjobo said Mr Qoo’s allegations smacked of desperation to garner sympathy from the DC faithful.
“Qoo keeps on making shocking allegations about the members of the NEC. His claims that the NEC intended to take disciplinary measures against them were utterly false and meant to gain the sympathy of party members,” said Mr Litjobo, adding the NEC would never suspend anyone without giving them a fair hearing.
“He actually organised people to assemble at the party’s headquarters so they would be ready to disrupt the meeting and assault NEC members.”
He said Mr Qoo was among the DC members “corruptly” benefiting from the Bidvest deal.
“Qoo is one of the people who benefitted corruptly from the Bidvest deal. And we have evidence about his interests in the Bidvest deal. We are almost ready to expose everybody who is involved,” Mr Litjobo said.
“We know why people like Qoo are dedicated to spreading falsehoods about the NEC. We can’t just suspend our leader willy-nilly as an NEC. However, revelations will be coming out very soon about the Bidvest deal.”
He added: “Qoo should desist from dragging our party leader’s name in the mud. His claims insinuate that Ntate Mosisili has an interest in this Bidvest deal, which is far from the truth.
“The DC finds itself at a crossroads because of MPs who use their status for their own self-enrichment and don’t the serve the interests of the party and the Basotho nation.”
Asked where he was during the NEC meeting, Mr Ltjobo said he was busy chairing a portfolio committee meeting in parliament.