Mosisili defiant over DC suspension
DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) leader, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, has thrown down the gauntlet to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), vowing to decisively deal with the “rebels” plotting his ouster.
Dr Mosisili, has also dismissed his suspension by the DC NEC as “null and void”, saying the committee was not empowered to make such a decision.
However, DC Deputy Secretary-General Refiloe Litjobo responded by warning Dr Mosisili against increasing the list of charges he is facing before the NEC “by continuing to act as the party leader when he has been suspended”.
In his first public remarks on Friday after the feuding in the strife-torn DC hit lows, Dr Mosisili sought to reassert his authority by condemning “rebels” in the party ranks and pledging action against members who were “undermining the unity of the organisation”.
The DC’s protracted infighting reached fever pitch after the NEC announced the main coalition party’s withdrawal from the seven-member governing alliance on 10 November this year. The committee cited the coalition government’s alleged failure to unite the politically-polarised nation, corruption, nepotism and deteriorating relations with development partners among the reasons for withdrawal.
The NEC, which is aligned to Dr Mosisili’s deputy Monyane Moleleki, on Thursday suspended Dr Mosisili as party leader for alleged misconduct.
However, Dr Mosisili hit back at the NEC and Mr Moleleki, saying the “so-called suspension” was an illegal attempt to hijack his constitutional powers as party leader.
He said the “rebels” in the DC were led by Mr Moleleki and also included Secretary-General Ralechate ’Mokose, Chairperson ’Maboiketlo Maliehe, Deputy Secretary-General Refiloe Litjobo, Deputy Chairperson Kose Makoa, Deputy Editor Retšelisitsoe Masenyetse, Second Member Ndiwuhleli Ndlomose, third member ’Mathabo Shao, fourth member Rethabile Marumo and Youth League President Thuso Litjobo.
He has since called for an emergency party conference from 2 to 4 December this year to take “harsh disciplinary measures” on the NEC for its decisions that are “dangerous to the party”. Dr Mosisili also wrote letters to Messrs Moleleki and ’Mokose requesting them to furnish him with reasons why they should not be suspended.
He said Mr Moleleki’s powers did not go beyond the provisions of section 5.3.2 of the DC constitution which states that the functions of the deputy leader are to help the leader and to act on behalf of the leader in his absence.
“The decision to allow Moleleki to hold political rallies on his own in the last general election campaign was not meant to afford him the opportunity to flex his muscles and gauge his strength within the party. His role is to assist me as his leader in my absence,” he said.
“I am shocked that he (Moleleki) seems to be hell-bent on acting on my behalf even in my presence. That cannot work at all.
“They have been illegally holding NEC meetings behind my back and that is one of the charges in the letters I have written to them to show cause why they cannot be suspended from the party.”
Dr Mosisili said the NEC had not only attempted to usurp his powers by holding the meetings, but also went “further to make a resolution that is beyond their legal mandate” by suspending him as the leader.
“The leader does not report to the NEC. The only bodies above the party leader in this party is the party itself, the general conference and the leadership conference only,” he said.
“Section 5.3.1 (h) of our constitution confers on the leader the powers to suspend any member of the NEC.
“However, there is no section or clause in our constitution that bestows similar powers on the NEC. It is only the party’s general conference that can remove from office the leader by a vote of no confidence in line with section 3.2.6.”
He said the NEC’s decision to withdraw the DC from government was also a “nullity” since the coalition government agreement was signed by the leaders of the seven parties and not their secretary-generals.
The premier emphasised the DC’s NEC did not have a legal standing in the agreement and therefore could not withdraw from the agreement.
“This (withdrawal) was something only I could do as the leader of the party.”
Mr Moleleki and a few other ministers resigned from government, a development which Dr Mosisili ascribed to the “mistaken belief” that this would create instability in the government and culminate in his removal from office.
“There is no such a thing. Whenever ministers resign, just like it has happened, my role as the prime minister is to advise His Majesty the King to accept the appointment of other ministers that I will recommend,” he said.
“The resignations don’t shake the foundations of government or put the prime minister in trouble in any way.”
Rather, he said, the resignations painted a picture of individuals who cared little about their oaths of office. Dr Mosisili vowed to restore the image of the DC “which had been tarnished by the rebels”.
“The major purpose of the conference is to reprimand the members of the NEC in a befitting manner,” he said.
“I heard that the secretary-general (Mr ‘Mokose) has been saying he will stop the conference from taking place. However, he cannot stop a conference that has not been called by him.
“My hope lies with the owners of this party, the members of the party in the grassroots. I hope that the members of the party will send very serious delegates who will come and deal with these issues.”
In his response, Mr Litjobo warned Dr Mosisili against increasing the list of charges against him by continuing to exercise powers of the leader of the DC. He said the NEC had suspended Dr Mosisili from the party until his disciplinary hearing and that meant he could not exercise the powers of the DC leader provided for in the party constitution.
“As an NEC we represent the two conferences above him, so he is a subject of the committee. He should therefore obey the resolutions of the committee or face harsh consequences for his unconstitutional actions that bring the party into disrepute,” said Mr Litjobo.
“He believes that the constitutional clause that says he is extricable from the committee means he is above it; it does not, it only applies in the case of a motion of no confidence in him as the leader of the party.”
Mr Litjobo said Mosisili’s remarks on the coalition government agreement suggested that he viewed government as his fiefdom along with his family and cronies.
“If the coalition agreement belongs to him, then we are withdrawing our party’s candidacy in the said coalition government and we are leaving him with his agreement,” Mr Litjobo said.
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