MASERU — Police on Wednesday night broke up a secret meeting by a faction of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) at Lithoteng.
The meeting was aimed at preparing for today’s nomination of delegates to attend the party’s annual general conference scheduled for January.
Sources say the meeting was gaining momentum at Lithoteng in Maseru when the police arrived and told participants who allegedly included Natural Resources Minister Moleleki and Agriculture Minister Ralechate ’Mokose to go home because the gathering was illegal.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed that the meeting was cut off when the police told the gatherers that they were violating the Public Meetings and Processions Act 2010.
“The police announced that the meeting was unlawful because its organisers had not sought permission from them as is required by the law,” Masupha said.
“Those who had attended the meeting had no option but to go to their respective homes,” he said.
Masupha however said no minister was spotted at the meeting although their cars were present.
’Mokose told the Sunday Express that he lent his official cars to party members to attend the meeting unaware that they had not followed the proper procedure to hold it.
“I have never attended any secret meeting in Lithoteng as it is widely rumoured but I can confirm to you that I lent some of our people my cars to attend a meeting in Lithoteng on Wednesday night,” ’Mokose said.
“I am therefore not surprised when people think I was there. Probably they saw my cars and I cannot blame them for that,” he said.
“I was not aware that the organisers of the meeting did not have a permission to hold it.”
However, a source says ’Mokose was present and left shortly before the police arrived.
Efforts to contact Moleleki were not successful.
The secret meeting was reportedly aimed at strategising how a faction believed to be backing Moleleki to succeed Prime Minister Mosisili could defeat the one said to be rallying behind Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.
The meeting was also supposed to discuss strategies to win the ruling party’s primaries for next year’s general election candidates.
Holding secret meetings without the approval of the national executive committee is regarded an offence according to the LCD’s constitution.
In August last year a group of youths from a faction believed to be aligned to Moleleki held a secret meeting at night at the Maseru United Churches Hall, prompting the national executive committee and the then youth league committee to call for disciplinary action against those who attended.
The then youth league secretary general, Selibe Mochoboroane, pushed for disciplinary action saying those who attended the meeting defied party leader Mosisili’s instructions that there should be no secret party meetings.
The LCD constitution says any member who defies the leader and national executive committee’s instructions is liable for an offence and may be disciplined.
It also forbids people from holding party meetings in constituencies they do not belong without the approval of the national executive committee.
Last year’s secret meeting was held ahead of the youth league committee elections on August 29.
It was in that election that the youth league aligned to the Metsing faction, called Litima-mollo, lost to the current committee with the exception of youth leader, Mosala Mojakisane.
The same meeting allegedly plotted the ouster of all members of the national executive committee except Mosisili and his deputy, Lesao Lehohla.
The elected youth league committee led 26 constituencies in a call for the removal of the executive committee.
In a circular Mochoboroane had mentioned nine MPs as having been master -minds of “the demise of the executive committee”.
Mochoboroane wrote that the nocturnal secret meeting was in open defiance of Mosisili who strongly warned “against unlawful meetings prior to the holding of elections.”