MASERU –For the past 30 days Metsing Lekhanya and his supporters have been cobbling up a plan to insulate him from incessant manoeuvres by his rivals in the Basotho National Party (BNP) to push him out of power.
Finally, they seem to have found it.
When the BNP factions that have been itching to topple Lekhanya walk into the second leg of the conference on June 18 they will find the game plan totally changed.
They will find that their plan, which they had turned into a mission over the past two years, has now probably gone off the rails.
The Sunday Express can reveal that at the two-day conference that starts on June 18, Lekhanya’s position will be the only national executive committee post that will not be up for grabs.
This, according to party secretary-general Ranthomeng Matete, is because Lekhanya’s position was secured after the rival factions failed to oust him through a vote of no confidence motion during the first leg of the conference last month.
Although the motion of no confidence during the March 19 conference received majority support it failed to garner the 75 percent threshold required by the party constitution to remove the leader.
Their failure to push out Lekhanya when they had the chance might come back to haunt the anti-Lekhanya faction.
That’s at least according to Matete’s schedule of events at the conference.
“When we resume the conference on 18 June, the position of party leader will not be contested,” Matete said.
“Ours will be just to resume with the business that we did not finish, in this case being the elective part of the conference.
“The national executive committee has arranged things in such a way that the 18th of June will mark the arrival of delegates while our business will start on 19 June.”
Matete said Lekhanya will be immune to challenge because he managed “to survive a vote of no confidence cast against him at the last conference”.
“The BNP leader’s position will not be challenged because in the last round of the conference he survived a vote of no confidence cast against him,” Matete said.
“Section 11 (8) (c) (iii) of the BNP constitution clearly states that the leader can only be removed from power in the event that the majority of votes cast against him amount to a two-thirds majority.
“At the 19 March conference, the votes cast against the BNP leader amounted to 156 and not the 187 which could have seen him being removed from the leadership. The motion did not succeed.
“This means he has retained his leadership position and that when the conference resumes elections will start from the position of deputy leader downwards.”
Matete said Lekhanya’s position was protected by the constitution.
“Those who challenge the legitimacy of the BNP leader will be challenging the constitution. But they should also note that it is a legal document,” Matete said.
“In that case they will have no choice but to tackle their problems by taking the legal route.”
The anti-Lekhanya faction however says it will have none of this “constitutional immunity talk”.
When contacted for comment Kopano Makoa, the man tipped by the anti-Lekhanya faction to be the next BNP leader, scoffed at the statement as “ridiculous” saying “there is nothing stopping us from proposing a new motion”.
“What is stopping us from mobilising for yet another motion of no confidence against Lekhanya?” Makoa said.
“The fact that Lekhanya survived a vote of no confidence in the last round does not mean he is immune to having another vote cast against him.”
“You should have asked Matete’s to respond tto this question.”
BNP legislator and former Lekhanya ally, Seabata Thabisi, echoed Makoa’s sentiments.
“There is absolutely nothing stopping us from requesting that the conference suspends some clauses within the constitution, particularly the two-thirds majority clause,” Thabisi, who has been at the forefront of efforts to push out Lekhanya, said.