TWO Democratic Congress (DC) members, Mangaliso Makakole and Moliehi Maliba have been coopted into the youth league committee as deputy president and public relations officer as the main opposition party moved to fill up vacancies and strengthen its structures in anticipation of possible snap national elections.
The DC has thrown its weight behind a no confidence motion brought against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane by a faction of his own All Basotho Convention (ABC) party which supports his estranged party deputy, Professor Nqosa Mahao.
However, the DC believes that Dr Thabane will not just relinquish power but he would rather dissolve parliament and advise His Majesty, King Letsie III to call for fresh polls. It is against this background of anticipated elections that the DC has been holding countrywide rallies to drum up support as well as strengthening its party structures by filling up vacancies. However, the process of filling up youth league vacancies had been in limbo for several months amid revelations by DC sources that youth league president, Moeketsi Shale, was dead set against the cooption of Mr Makakole, Ms Maliba and Likopo Kholuoe into the youth league as deputy president, public relations officer and national chairperson respectively.
The trio were earmarked to fill the positions left vacant by the departures of Lerato Thulo (former deputy president), Tlohang Rakotje (former national chairperson) and Tanki Mankoe (public relations officer) who defected to the Alliance of Democrats (AD) in January this year.
The decision to coopt Mr Makakole, Ms Maliba and Mr Likopo into the youth league was made in February this year at a youth league committee meeting which was attended by DC deputy chairperson, Lethusang Kompi. Mr Kompi attended as a representative of the DC’s NEC.
But Mr Shale was accused of conniving with some members of the DC’s national executive committee (NEC) to block the cooption of the trio because he did not want his rivals, particularly Mr Makakole on the committee.
It was said that Mr Shale had hoped to delay the cooption at least until October 2019 when Mr Makakole turns 36. By then Mr Makakole will no longer be eligible because only those who are 35 years old and under can be part of the youth league committee.
Mr Shale however, denied the allegations, saying although they were rivals he had nothing to fear from Mr Makakole.
Mr Shale said the trio had not been coopted into the committee because the party’s NEC had informed them that proper procedures had not been followed when the decision to coopt the new youth league committee members was made in February.
“This matter is very simple. Three committee members left the party and we decided to fill the positions (left vacant by their departure). We have asked those people (Messrs Makakole, Maliba and Likopo) to furnish us with their identity cards so that we can verify their identities and age before we coopt them into the committee. But the NEC made us aware that we had made a mistake by not following all the proper procedures when we did that,” Mr Shale said.
But over a fortnight ago, Mr Makakole and Ms Maliba were finally allowed to take their places in the youth league committee after getting the nod from their Stadium Area # 31 and Hlotse constituencies respectively.
Mr Kholuoe was however, left out in the cold after his Qoaling constituency said he did not meet the constitutional requirements for cooption into the youth league committee. The constituency however, did not say what requirements Mr Kholuoe had failed to meet. This according to a youth league circular dated 9 October 2019 and signed by secretary general, Tšitso Cheba.
“Based on the youth league secretary general’s letter to the party secretary general dated 09 September 2019 which had requested assistance to peruse the files of members that had been nominated to fill vacant positions in the youth league committee, the office of the secretary general has received…a letter from Stadium Area # 31 constituency stating that Mr Mangaliso Makakole meets all the constitutional requirements to be coopted into the youth league committee,” Mr Cheba states in the circular.
He also states that the Hlotse Constituency indicated that Ms Maliba met all the requirements to fill the position of the public relations officer while a report from Mr Kholuoe’s Qoaling constituency said that he did not meet the requirements.
“Based on the above the office of the party secretary general has given the youth league secretary general a go ahead to issue a circular announcing the cooption of Mr Mangaliso Makakole and Ms Moliehi Maliba into the youth league committee,” Mr Cheba said.