Mosisili still licking wounds over electoral loss
…but implores party to fight and win upcoming local government polls
Bongiwe Zihlangu & ‘Marafaele Mohloboli
MAIN opposition Democratic Congress (DC) founding leader, former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, says he is still struggling to digest and come to terms with how the party lost the October 2022 general elections.
The DC had been expected to do well in the elections and lead the next government, especially as voters were evidently put off by the ceaseless infighting in the once mighty All Basotho Convention (ABC). But the party’s hopes were dashed by the six-month old Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) which won an impressive 56 constituency seats – in its debut election – against the DC’s 18.
The result confirmed the widely held view that if it had not been for the RFP, the DC would have won the elections. Party leader Mathibeli Mokhothu, would have been the prime minister. That’s is what probably irks Mr Mosisili more. The riches of RFP leader, Sam Matekane, which seems to have excited the electorate, are largely attributed by DC members to Mr Mosisili’s benevolence during his long tenure as PM.
Addressing the closing session of the DC’s elective conference last week, Mr Mosisili was still clearly irked by the party’s defeat. He urged newly elected national executive committee (NEC) members to be compassionate as they deal with members struggling to come to terms with the defeat.
“As you go about your business, always bear in mind that you are leading people who are still processing their party’s defeat at the 2022 elections. Truth be told, you are still struggling to understand why DC lost the elections. I too am one of the people who are still struggling to make sense of it, to understand why we lost,” Mr. Mosisili said.
“Sadly, this elective conference comes at a time when we are still licking wounds incurred from our defeat at those national assembly elections. We had hoped that we would emerge victorious and form a government. But it was not to be. However, as the new NEC, you must put your best foot forward and lead this party, exercising tolerance and patience towards those whom you lead. You are leading people whose hearts are still bleeding.”
Mr Mosisili also warned newly elected NEC members against succumbing to arrogance and leaving members behind, lest “ you find yourselves all alone one day when you decide to look behind you and find no one to lead”.
“You must realise that you have been given the authority to discipline others and you must exercise that responsibility by calling to order all the structures of the party accountable to you where they fail to handle the party’s business with dignity.
“But let me hasten to say that you must discharge that duty with respect and humility and in line with provisions of the DC constitution,” Mr. Mosisili said.
He continued: “You must always ensure that the multitudes you lead are always walking a step behind you, lest you look back a long way down the line, to find yourselves alone with no party to lead. By keeping your members close, you will be striving for and guaranteeing this party’s unity.”
Party leader Mathibeli Mokhothu’s post was not up for election as he is only in the fourth of his prescribed six year constitutional term His deputy, Motlalentoa Letsosa, was also not challenged but only at the behest of party members.
Secretary-general Tsítso Cheba, chairperson Mosala Mojakisane, treasurer Hlalele Letsába and spokesperson Serialong Qoo succeeded in retaining their positions. Debutants in the new NEC are DC MPs for the Makhaleng and Hloahoeng constituencies Mootsi Lehata and Katleho Mabeleng, elected as deputy-chairperson and deputy-publisher respectively.
Another interesting new face is Bothata Mahlala, who is the party’s new publisher. Mr Mahlala a businessman is now holding high political office for the first time. He contested for the Mt. Moorosi constituency on the DC banner but narrowly lost to the ruling RFP’s candidate Mosetlolo Thulo by 2194 to the latter’s 2467, a narrow margin of 273 votes.
Though still licking wounds over the general election defeat, Mr Mosisili still congratulated the party for holding a successful elective conference. The success had constricted “prophets of doom who always assume the worst” whenever the party held its internal elections.
Gesturing to Mr Mokhothu, he said: “I don’t know my leader why it is that whenever the DC goes for a conference, prophets of doom always predict that we will fight and be on each other’s throats. But DC always carries out its business calmly and with dignity, thus putting its detractors to shame. I am very impressed.
“You are genuine and honest people, true to our slogan which means that the truth is our shield. You don’t fool around,” Mr. Mosisili said to cheers and applause.
“We have now reached the apex of this party’s administration, for there is nothing greater than a conference in congress politics. This conference once concluded, leaves the DC leader and his executive committee at the helm of the party. That then means they are now in charge of the party, to run its affairs on behalf of the conference. I urge you to read your DC constitution, which states clearly that all resolutions of the conference are to be embraced and adhered to by all members of the party.”
“Similarly, decisions made by the NEC, which executes party business on behalf of the conference, are also binding for all structures of the party. Should you all abide by provisions of the DC constitution, you will preserve the value and nature of your party. We will remain one of the biggest and most respected political outfits in the country.”
Mr Mosisili encouraged the new DC leadership to focus on trying to win this year’s local government elections slated for April.
“To you DC leader (Mokhothu) and your NEC, you must lead this party starting today, towards victory at the local government elections which will take place in the coming months. The DC leadership must go out there and show the world that our strength emanates from the grassroots, those being the party’s sub-branches and constituencies,” Mr. Mosisili said.
“My leader (Mokhothu) your NEC’s primary mandate through your leadership, is to lead DC to victory at the local government elections. We must do it in a manner that will leave not even a speck of doubt in anyone’s mind. We must prove that indeed the voice of the people is king and resides in the DC.”