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LCD tug of war takes new twist

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Nat Molomo

MASERU — The tug of war within the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) took a new twist when a faction battling for the control of the National Executive Committee this week filed an application in the High Court seeking a leadership conference.
Three LCD members from a faction believed to be fighting for Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki to succeed Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili as party leader have asked the High Court to order the executive committee to call a leadership conference before holding the general one in January next year.
The urgent application comes after the Court of Appeal referred a hearing of a case in which the same faction wanted the executive committee to immediately hold a special conference.
The Court of Appeal said it would hear the case on December 8.
While the warring factions were waiting for the Court of Appeal hearing the executive committee issued a circular saying the annual general conference will be held in January.
The faction’s youthful hardliner, Ramahooana Matlosa from the Maseru constituency together with Mabutse Thamae and Thabang Leroibaki, responded by filing a new application in the High Court seeking an order to compel the executive committee to hold the leadership conference before the annual general meeting.
A faction siding with the executive committee is believed to be fighting for Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing who is also the LCD general secretary.
In the new application the three members claim that the executive committee is running the affairs of the LCD contrary to the constitution in relation to the leadership conference.
They claim that according to the LCD constitution a leadership conference must be held during September and October.
The respondents are the executive committee, the LCD Women’s League, LCD Youth League and the LCD.
The applicants want the executive committee to show cause why the court should not order and direct it to hold leadership conference in terms sections 5.1 and 5.3 (d) of the LCD constitution within a period of two weeks from the date of the final order.
In an affidavit Matlosa, who was one of the appellants in the Court of Appeal application to be heard on December 8, states that he is instituting proceedings because he is entitled to uphold the party’s constitution.
Matlosa states that the functions of the executive committee include ensuring that the constitution is followed, to fill the vacancies in the National Executive Committee, to supervise and guide the functioning of women’s league committee and the youth league committee.
“It follows that it is only the first respondent (executive committee) who can call and cause to be held the leadership conference in terms of section, 7.1.3 read with section 12 (a) of the constitution of the fourth respondent (LCD.,”) Matlosa said.
He submits that the LCD has not held the leadership conference this year contrary to the provisions of the constitution.
“I aver that that NEC (first respondent) has not publicised that it shall hold the leadership conference during September-October 2011 as required per section 5.3 of the LCD constitution,” Matlosa says.
He says while he and his co-applicants were waiting a date for the leadership conference the executive committee announced that the general conference would be held on January 29 next year.
The applicants claim that the executive committee called the general conference purporting to be acting in terms of the constitution.
“The position in terms of the LCD constitution is that the leadership conference should be held prior to the general conference because the leadership conference is the forerunner conference that prepares for the general conference,” the applicants state.

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