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Intra-LCD fights get dirtier

Bongiwe Zihlangu

 MASERU – An urgent High Court application by five members of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) to block the party’s upcoming special conference has triggered chaos that may sink the party.

The Sunday Express understands that 26 constituencies are now planning to seek an order to be enjoined as respondents together with the national executive committee, the leadership conference and the LCD.

The constituencies say the application seeking to block the special conference set for March 19 should have cited them as respondents because it is their petitions that triggered the decision to have the conference in the first place. 

The 26 constituencies are the ones that petitioned the party to disband the national executive committee after accusing it of insubordination and failing to run the party.

The petitions were presented to the leadership conference in November which decided that only a special conference could decide the fate of the executive committee.

The application by the 26 constituencies will be spearheaded by the LCD national youth league chairman Thuso Litjobo from the Koro-Koro constituency and the Machache constituency committee chairman Maboella Lebabo, sources said this week.

They are being represented by senior counsel Kananelo Mosito.

Internal sources say the constituencies will argue that there is no way that the five members can seek to block the special conference without including them in their application.

The application for the enjoinder will be heard in the High Court on February 11 while the application by the five will be heard on 28 February.

In the meantime, the executive committee, the leadership conference and the LCD do not seem to agree on how to deal with the application from the five members.

Although the three are essentially one, they are being represented by different lawyers.

This paper understands that they will be using different approaches to tackle the case.

According to internal sources, the executive committee will be represented by Advocate Patrick Ts’enoli.

The source however said the executive committee might instruct Ts’enoli not to oppose the application to block the special conference.

The source said Mosito will represent the leadership conference while Salemane Phafane, another senior counsel, will appear for the LCD. 

Phafane has represented the party on numerous occasions in the past.

A senior LCD official yesterday told this paper on condition of anonymity that the LCD executive committee had initially approached Phafane to represent it on condition that he did not oppose the application. But he allegedly refused.

The committee then turned to Ts’enoli.

Phafane and Mosito are expected to argue that since the LCD is not a court of law but a political organisation, the outcome of the special conference should be an issue to be contested in court and not the purported illegality of the special conference itself.

“The main issue here is that their case is premature because the special conference they are trying to block has not made a decision as yet,” the official said.

“We should first go to the special conference to discuss this issue, after which courts of law can be approached for intervention if need be.”

Another senior official who also spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that there were plans to hold a huge rally on Sunday 27 February, a day before the application to block the special conference is heard.

The purpose of the rally, said the official who is among members who want the executive committee out, is “to show support to the LCD, its leader and defense team”.

When the application was submitted in the High Court on Thursday, a significant number of LCD youths aligned to a faction allegedly led by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki and clad in party regalia, gathered outside the court premises and spent a good part of the morning singing and dancing.

“I wish to thank you for coming here today to show your dedication and support to the party’s leader when the enemies of the LCD are ganging up against us by dragging the party to court,” Litjobo said to the members who had attended the hearing.

“Make sure to come again on February 11 when a part of this case will be heard. Remember to show up again on 28th February when the main case will be heard.”

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