— The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) on Thursday dissolved the national
youth and women’s committees two days ahead of the party’s leadership
conference in a move insiders said could be a sign of the bitter infighting
within the party. LCD
secretary-general Keketso Rantšo told the Sunday Express yesterday that
the committees were dissolved because “they do not qualify to be part of the
dissolution however came amidst intense infighting within the party allegedly
spearheaded by members of the youth league and May 26 election candidates who
have been complaining that the executive committee had neglected them since the
formation of the coalition government in June. The
LCD is part of a coalition government that was formed by Prime Minister Thomas
Thabane in June.
other parties in the coalition are Thabane’s All Basotho Convention and the
Basotho National Party. Although
the official line given is that the committees were provisional in nature
following the split in February, some officials within the party have questioned
the timing, linking the move to the internal squabbles. The
Sunday Express understands that the decision to dissolve the committees was
made at the party’s national executive meeting on Thursday. Rantšo
said the committees had been dissolved because their appointment was not “in
line with the party’s constitution”. “These
committee members were handpicked by the national executive committee to fill
gaps resulting from the LCD split earlier this year,” Rantšo said.
was not in line with the party’s constitution which unequivocally states that
the party’s leadership should be elected by a conference.” The
LCD split in February after former leader Pakalitha Mosisili walked out of the
party and formed the Democratic Congress party. The
split resulted in some youth league and women’s league members joining the DC,
leaving gaps within organs of the former ruling party. Rantšo
said because members of the national women’s and youth committees were
appointed with only the blessing of the executive committee they did not
therefore qualify to “participate at the leadership conference”.
going for a leadership conference and these committees are not authorised to
attend the meeting and be part of the proceedings,” Rantšo said. “Therefore,
the executive committee has, in line with the party’s constitution, all the
right to dissolve them as they were in the first place appointed by it.” Rantšo
added that the committees were provisional in nature and that some of their
members did not qualify to feature in them as they had never been “part of the
party’s other structures”. “Some
of the members of these committees had never featured in the party’s structures
such as the sub-branch, branch and constituency committees,” Rantšo said.
were also not screened in line with the LCD constitution and were also not
familiar with many aspects of the party, primarily the constitution.” Rantšo
said that officials of the party’s constituency committees that were appointed
where the DC had defected with all committees “do also not qualify to be part
of the conference”. “In
constituencies where the DC left with all constituency officials, we also had
to handpick officials to fill the voids. Those people also don’t qualify to be
part of the leadership conference,” Rantšo said.
added that the executive committee will soon issue circulars to constituencies
to start making preparations to elect nominees who will contest elections for
the new national youth committee. “In
the meantime, the functions of the two committees will be carried out directly
by the NEC,” Rantšo said. Rantšo
insisted that the dissolution of the two committees “should not be linked to
the ensuing conflict in the LCD”. When
contacted for comment yesterday, the LCD youth leader Tšoanelo Ramakeoana said it
was up to delegates forming the LCD leadership at the conference to decide
whether or not “the manner in which our committee was dissolved is okay”.
LCD conference will decide if the manner in which our committee was dissolved
is acceptable,” Ramakeoana said.
is necessary for the conference to endorse or invalidate the NEC’s
decision.” Meanwhile, the LCD
leadership conference kicked off at ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre last night.