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Metsing faction’s ‘Lazarus moment’

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU – Is this the “Lazarus moment” for a faction of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party led by Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing?

The faction was deemed almost dead and buried last November after 26 constituencies called for the dissolution of the party’s powerful national executive committee.

But a ruling delivered by High Court judge Justice Nthomeng Majara on Thursday appears to have breathed new life into the almost comatose faction, according to political analysts.

Justice Majara ruled that the decision to call a special conference, where the national executive committee was almost certain to be booted out, was unconstitutional.

The judge said the decision to call the special conference which sought to axe all members of the committee, save for party leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla, was unconstitutional.

Analysts who spoke to the Sunday Express said the ruling was a major victory for the faction allegedly led by Metsing.

The faction is locked in a mortal fight against another faction allegedly led by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.

National University of Lesotho (NUL) lecturer, Tlohang Letsie, said the Thursday ruling was “a victory for the Metsing faction”.

“The outcome of the court case is in favour of the Metsing faction. It marks the resuscitation of the faction. It is a major victory for them,” Letsie said.

“It will give the faction a chance to buy more time and regain influence in decision-making [processes] within the party.”

But he added the ruling party could however see an intensification of the internal fights.

“There is the issue of the other 17 letters demanding the dissolution of the whole executive committee. It means the fighting could intensify,” Letsie said.

He was referring to a new call by 17 constituencies urging the disbandment of the entire national executive committee including Mosisili and Lehohla.

Letsie said chances were very slim that Mosisili would push for the committee to be disbanded without an assurance that he will be retained as leader.

Nchafatso Sello also concurred that the court ruling “is a victory for the Metsing faction”. 

Like Letsie, Sello also views the 17 letters calling for another special conference as a renewed effort to try “to disband the executive committee”.

“We are likely to see the factional fights intensifying. Chances are that there are those who will split from the party,” Sello said.

Motlamelle Kapa, a lecturer at NUL and the author of the political text, Politics of Coalition in Lesotho, said the ruling was a victory that gives the Metsing faction the chance “to consolidate itself”.

“The losing faction will on the other hand have to go out to the constituencies to regroup,” Kapa said.

Kapa said the two factions should prepare to either unite or split.

“It will all depend on what Mosisili says from now on as leader. He has a huge challenge of trying to iron out the differences,” Kapa said.

“This case also teaches us that political conflicts need a political resolution as they can never be resolved by courts of law. They have to sort it all out internally.”

When contacted for comment on Friday, Lehohla said he was not in a position to say what they had learnt from the High Court judgement “because I have not had the chance to read it”.

On the renewed efforts by the constituencies to disband the LCD executive committee, Lehohla said the party leadership would try to urge the constituencies to “have a rethink”.

“As the leadership you always appeal to constituencies to reconsider their stance so that we can sit and thrash issues out,” Lehohla said.

“Maybe the factions will come to their senses and stop whatever it is they are doing.”

Lehohla added: “Under normal circumstances, it is imperative to have an annual general conference to reflect on ourselves as an organisation.”

He conceded that the factional fights could harm the party during the forthcoming general and parliamentary elections.

 “You cannot face elections while you’re still grappling with internal
battles as a party,” Lehohla said.

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