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Metsing goes on charm offensive

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Staff Reporter MASERU — The national executive committee of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) has gone on a charm offensive to shore up support amidst
speculation that leader Pakalitha Mosisili is on the verge of leaving the
party.
The committee which is led by Mothetjoa Metsing met at Lakeside Hotel on Thursday to discuss its counter strategy should Mosisili form a splinter party.

Speculation has been rife that Mosisili is now planning a breakaway party following his fallout with the executive committee.

Mosisili, sources said, has now lost control of the executive committee.

The last straw was the party’s failure to hold a special conference last weekend, said the source.

The conference was cancelled after the two factions in the LCD argued over delegates.

Following the failure Mosisili addressed an unarranged rally on Sunday where he accused the executive committee and the credentials committee of sabotaging the conference.

And on Tuesday Mosisili unexpectedly fired three ministers including Metsing, the party’s secretary general, whom he dismissed as communications minister.

Motleheloa Phooko, the LCD’s public relations officer, was also sacked as minister in the prime minister’s office.

So was Khotso Matla, the editor of the party’s newspaper Mololi, who was dismissed as deputy trade minister.

Metsing, Matla and Phooko are said to be central figures in a camp that has been battling for the control of the LCD with a faction led by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki who is said to have the support of Mosisili.

A source at the Lakeside Hotel meeting said the executive committee discussed the strategy they will use if Mosisili goes ahead and forms a party.

“We are taking a cue from what the leader (Mosisili) said at the rally on Sunday. We need to prepare,” said the source who attended the meeting.

The source said a decision was reached to dispatch “commissars” to garner support for the executive committee in the districts ahead of the anticipated split.

“We want people to know the truth so that they know that the executive committee will not leave the party like others are planning to do,” he said.

“Those that want to leave the party must do so with very little. They cannot profit from a legacy and support base the party has built all these years.”

The source said the executive committee is also lobbying some MPs to remain with the LCD should a splinter party be formed.

He said between Thursday and Saturday members of the executive had met “a number of MPs to find out where they stand in the scheme of things”.

“We are doing this to cover ourselves in case the other faction tries to play some tricks in parliament.”

Another source who is also a member of the executive committee said over the “past three days there has been pressure from some members on the executive committee to bring Mosisili before a disciplinary hearing and expel him from the party”.

The source however said the executive committee had resisted this pressure because they want to do “everything by the book”.

“The committee is not going to be emotional about things. It has reached this far and survived many attacks because it does everything according to the constitution”.

This paper understands that the Moleleki faction had their own meeting on Thursday night at Agriculture Minister Ralechate ‘Mokose’s residence in Maseru West to discuss their own strategy.

At that meeting, a source said, the faction discussed how it was going to fight the Metsing faction.

A resolution was also made to send some people into the villages to drum up support for the faction, the source added.

Senior members of the Moleleki faction are alleged to have met Advocate Kananelo Mosito of K E M Chambers on Thursday.

A source said Moleleki and Public Works Minister Semano Sekatle spent hours with Mosito on Friday.

Mosito admitted some members of the LCD’s top brass consulted him on Friday but declined to divulge what they were discussing with him.

“I cannot tell you that because it is confidential,” he said.

He however denied that they were there to draft a constitution for the new party.

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