Public Works and Transport deputy minister Mokhele Moletsane has allegedly declined his nomination to challenge for the Democratic Congress (DC) Youth League presidency as well as the party’s secretary-general post.
According to DC sources who spoke to the Sunday Express on condition of anonymity, Mr Moletsane decided not to fight for any position during the League’s elections scheduled for the last weekend of next month to avoid being sucked into the ruling party’s factionalism.
Mr Moletsane had been expected to give the League’s current chairperson Thuso Litjobo—a strong contender for the presidency—a good run for the elite post.
Mr Litjobo and the League’s spokesperson Mpaballeng Motjetjepa would now be the only contenders after both accepted nomination for the influential position, with current president Mosala Mojakisane no longer eligible to stand due to his age.
Mr Litjobo is a staunch supporter of DC deputy leader and Police Minister Monyane Moleleki, while Motjetjepa is believed to be backed by a “camp” led by Foreign Affairs Minister Tlohang Sekhamane. DC insiders also told the Sunday Express that Mr Sekhamane is hoping to challenge Mr Moleleki for the party’s deputy-leadership post at next February’s National Executive Committee (NEC) elections.
The Sekhamane-backed faction allegedly comprises prominent DC members such as Tourism Minister Likeleli Tampane and Sports Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, and allegedly enjoys the ‘backdoor’ support of Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) heavyweights.
Asked why Mr Moletsane had declined to be part of the polls, one of the sources said the deputy minister was undecided as to which of the two camps to work with.
“Both the Moleleki and Sekhamane camps wanted him and he had been testing the waters on both sides. However, he eventually realised that working with either camp would compromise him one way or the other,” the source said.
The source added the Sekhamane camp felt entitled to Mr Moletsane’s support, arguing it had secured him the ministerial post, while Mr Moleleki’s group believed it “owned him” because of his support over the years.
“The Sekhamane-backed camp claims it secured him his cushy job, while the Moleleki camp says it should be given the credit for Moletsane’s prominence in politics,” the source said.
“To be on the safe side and not offend anyone, he thought long and hard about it, and eventually decided to pull out. I think it was a wise move.”
Repeated efforts to contact Mr Moletsane proved fruitless yesterday.
Meanwhile, another DC source told the Sunday Express that the fate of both Mr Moleleki and Mr Sekhamane could be decided at the Youth League polls.
“The elections of the youth league are usually tied to the prospects of some leaders making the NEC. In this case, if the Moleleki-backed youth camp wins, then his prospects of retaining his position as DC deputy leader remain bright,” the source said.
“The same applies to Mr Sekhamane. If his camp wins, then he will likely become the next DC deputy leader.”
According to the source, the grand plan was to oust Mr Moleleki at the NEC elections and replace him with Mr Sekhamane, while the current secretary general, Water Minister Ralechate ‘Mokose is replaced by Sports Minister Mokhothu.
“There is a campaign to oust Moleleki and ‘Mokose and replace them with Sekhamane and Mokhothu,” the source alleged.
“Ultimately, Ntate Sekhamane would succeed Ntate (Pakalitha) Mosisili as DC leader when he retires, deputised by Ntate Mokhothu. So both camps seriously have their work cut out for them.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Litjobo confirmed being nominated for the Youth League presidency.
“I have accepted the nomination and I am also optimistic of the outcome,” Mr Litjobo said.
“I just want to be part of a Youth League that will support the leader and his NEC, while at the same time working hard to attract more supporters for the growth of the party.”
On her part, Ms Motjetjepa also confirmed her nomination.
“I can confirm that I have accepted nomination to contest against my brother Litjobo for the DC Youth League presidency. I accepted because I think it is the right time for the DC youths to use me to advance the party. They have their reason for nominating me,” Ms Motjetjepa said.
“These people know who we are and what our strengths are, as they have been watching us over the years.”
However, Ms Motjetjepa was quick to dismiss any suggestions that she belonged to any “camp”.
“I do not belong to any camp. I am a DC member who supports my party and its leadership in every way possible,” Ms Motjetjepa said.
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