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LCD shelves youth, women’s leagues elective conference

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) will not hold elective conferences for the party’s youth and women’s leagues anytime soon, the Sunday Express has learnt. According to a party circular dated January 19, 2013 issued by secretary general Keketso Rantšo, the LCD said it will not be holding the conferences anytime soon because it is still busy with the process of electing constituency committees following the split that led to the formation of the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) last February.

“You will remember that when we split, both the youth and women’s committees defected with the DC, thus leaving us without such committees,” Rantšo said in the circular. “Until now, the youth and women answer to the executive committee.”
Rantšo said plans will be made for the elective conferences of the two branches after which the executive committee “will make announcements to that effect”. “The announcement will be made once the executive committee is convinced that all the party’s constituency committees have been elected,” Rantšo said.

In a similar circular, Rantšo indicated that in addition to those that have elected committees already, there were also seven constituencies whose election results have been endorsed by the executive committee, namely Motete, Hlotse, Ts’oana- Makhulo, Qhalasi, Tele, Mashai and the Gauteng province. She further stated that 17 constituencies including Thaba-Phatšoa, Hololo, Pela-Ts’oeu, Bela-Bela, Malimong, Thupa-Khubu, Thetsane, Thaba-Phechela, Rothe, ‘Maliepetsane, Likhoele, Qalabane, Mafeteng, Mekaling, Ketane, Thaba-Moea and Thaba-Tseka “have still not elected constituency committees”.
“For this reason, the secretary general will visit the concerned constituencies to establish challenges they are facing and make arrangements for elections,” Rantšo said.

“These constituencies will be notified by letters. “The executive committee has also noted that in constituencies where committees have been elected, branch and sub-branch committees have not been elected. “They are therefore instructed to hold those elections.” After last February’s split that led to the formation of the DC, the LCD executive committee appointed provisional national youth and women’s committees to help the party campaign for the May 26 general poll.
However, two days ahead of the party’s last October leadership conference the two committees were dissolved by the LCD executive in a move that insiders said was a sign of the bitter infighting within the party.

At the time, Rantšo said the committees were dissolved because since they were not constitutionally elected, they did not qualify to be part of the leadership delegation attending the conference. “The two committees were dissolved because their appointment was not in line with the party’s constitution which unequivocally states that the party’s leadership should be elected by a conference,” Rantšo said at the time. “The committee members were handpicked by the national executive committee to fill up gaps resulting from the LCD split earlier this year.”

In a worrying development for the party, Rants’o bemoaned the fact that the LCD membership has remained stagnant at 66 956 members adding “there’s no satisfactory growth, especially in places where constituency committees defected to the DC”.
“In other constituencies delays in members renewing their membership were caused by the lack of stamps and the party’s books which were taken by the DC,” Rants’o said.

“There also are two constituencies where there is absolutely no LCD membership and those are ‘Maliepetsane and Ketane.”
Speaking at the DC elective conference last week, the party’s leader and former premier Pakalitha Mosisili appeared to take a dig at the LCD when he said all congress parties were recognised by three elements, which he said were “the executive, women and youth committees”.

Mosisili was at the helm of the LCD for 14 years until he formed the DC and defected with 45 MPs to form the DC government that lasted only three months.

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