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NEC members told to recuse self

’Marafaele Mohloboli

SOME members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) have called on the national executive committee (NEC) members of the party who are contesting in the 1 and 2 February 2019 elective conference to recuse themselves from office activities and conference preparations.

The group calling itself “Makobotata a tšoenyehileng (Worried ABC members), wants the NEC not to take part in the preparations for the upcoming elective conference to ensure that they do not give themselves an unfair advantage by sidelining competitors.

The call comes after a tumultuous run-up to the elective conference that has been characterised by fissures that have threatened to rip the party apart. Among the rifts is the one about the Koro-Koro constituency committee which has dragged the party to the court to fight for their preferred candidate for the deputy leader post, Professor Nqosa Mahao.

Prof Mahao was disqualified on the grounds that he had not “served at the party’s branch and constituency levels for at least 24 and 36 months” respectively as required by the party’s constitution.

The Koro-Koro constituency committee however, insists that Prof Mahao meets the requirements to stand in the elections. It has since taken the matter to court but lost in the High Court last week. The committee has since appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Although he later retracted the statement, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane also weighed in on the Prof Mahao issue, telling a recent Ha Abia rally that the latter was a “rag” who should not be elected to deputise him as he was not even a member of the ABC.

And some members of the ABC have now written to the NEC, ABC Caucus, the National Women’s Committee, the National Youth Committee, the ABC Komiti ea Litharollo, the ABC Likomiti tsa Mabatooa pleading that NEC members who are contesting in the upcoming polls should recuse themselves from the preparations of the elections.

They also said an ad-hoc committee must be set-up to handle the preparations for the elections or even engage the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) or any non-governmental organisation to ensure free and fair polls.

“We plead with the current members of NEC to recuse themselves until the election processes are completed,” the letter dated 14 January reads.

“We advise that an ad-hoc committee be elected to handle preparations for elections and then engage the Independent Electoral Commission or any NGO, for example the Transformation Resource (TRC) conduct our elections at the conference, to ensure free and fair elections.

“We as concerned members of the ABC have noted with concern the rising tempers during this period prior to our elective conference. Since the campaign for our next National Executive Committee started, we have noted the following issues, which we are making a plea to all ABC members to be cognisant of:

  1. Utterance from candidates and members shouldn’t divide us in the party and the government.
  2. The party is not able to manage internal conflicts hence we have witnessed cases taken to the courts of law.
  3. Allegations of death threats directed at members of the party have increased.
  4. We have voiced our concerns about the way our current NEC is handling matters and now we are witnessing the results of mismanagement of the party.

“NEC members are contestants in the elections, yet they are also working on nomination lists, screening and disqualifying other contestants who are nominated by their constituencies,” the letter reads.

The ABC members also say that the suspension of party chairperson Motlohi Maliehe and its lifting was never discussed at the conference held in Quthing last August which gave the leadership a chance to iron out any misunderstandings and no clarity has been given on the issue.

The members also allege that the party constitution, particularly Section C (1) and (5), was ignored when it held elections for the youth (August 2017) and women’s (December 2017) committees which set a precedence that some clauses may be ignored. The sections refer to the eligibility of members to contest for branch and NEC positions.

“So now the NEC wants to use the constitution but is losing control because they have been ignoring good governance, now the situation is catching up with them.

“We have witnessed our ministers, who are contestants in the NEC, mudslinging on radios about service delivery and clearly government performance is affected while we cannot control and contain our party matters.

“This has raised eyebrows from both our partners in in government and opposition and our fear is that this might cost us a lot in government if it is not addressed properly.

“We therefore plead with the current members of the NEC to recuse themselves until the election processes are completed.”

In conclusion, the group urged ABC members to work tirelessly and ensure that a befitting committee is elected, while pledging to fully support those who would be elected.

“We are aware that the process has left the party vulnerable to infiltration and criticism by other parties and it is up to each ABC member to protect the party and work towards its unity,” concluded the letter.

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