DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) youth league president, Moeketsi Shale, is under fire from fellow youth members for allegedly frustrating efforts to coopt three members into the opposition party’s youth league committee.
Mr Shale was elected youth league president in August 2018. He stands accused of stalling the cooption of Mangaliso Makakole, Moliehi Maliba and Likopo Kholuoe into the youth league as deputy president, public relations officer and national chairperson respectively since March this year.
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 Rakoche (public relations officer) who defected to the Alliance of Democrats (AD) in January this year.
Mr Shale is said to have connived with some DC’s national executive committee (NEC) members to stall the process because he does not want his rival, Mr Makakole on the committee.
It is said that Mr Shale wants to delay the cooption process at least until October this year when Mr Makakole turns 36. By then Mr Makakole will no longer be eligible for the post because the DC has an age limit of 35 years for its members.
Mr Shale has however, denied the allegations, saying although they were rivals he had nothing to fear from Mr Makakole.
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.
A party source said Mr Shale “is working with some members of parliament and NEC members to frustrate the process of coopting the trio into the youth league committee”.
“This is causing tensions within the party and this could frustrate the party leader (Mathibeli Mokhothu)’s efforts to clean the party’s image,” the source said.
Contacted for comment, Mr Shale denied the allegations saying although they were rivals he had nothing to fear from Mr Makakole.
Mr Shale said the trio had not yet 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.
He said they had also received letters from different constituencies expressing their opinions about the decision to coopt the trio. He said there were differing opinions on the matter, with some blessing this decision while others were against the move.
“Fortunately I don’t lead people without knowing what they are saying about me and I know who your sources are. I am not sabotaging meetings. The truth of the matter is that the committee cannot meet on weekdays because some members are at work or school. We are also finding it difficult to meet on weekends because the DC has a very tight schedule; we are a party that has activities every weekend and some activities even take place on weekdays,” Mr Shale said.
He said he then requested the NEC to sponsor their night meetings to allow them to continue with the youth league business and that they received a positive feedback.
Mr Shale said one of his rivals in the committee chose to attend a feast in Mokhotlong while another attended other opposition parties’ meetings.
He said although the DC constitution allows him to expel errant members, het had not done so because he was fully aware that relations were managed by talking to people and ensuring that they eventually understood each other.
“So it is not true that I am stalling the process. I have no reason to stall this process because as it stands, the youth league committee is made up of my rivals and I would not be scared of having more rivals in the committee. Even if Ntate (AD leader and Deputy Prime Minister Monyane) Moleleki and Ntate (All Basotho Convention leader and Prime Minister Thomas) Thabane were to come into the committee, I would not be scared of them. I am not scared of rivals because I am an activist. I sell my ideas to the people and people voted me because of the progressive ideas I have sold to them,” Mr Shale said.