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Prof Rapapa denies plotting to unseat Moleleki

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

OPPOSITION Alliance of Democrats (AD) deputy leader, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, has denied allegations that he is plotting to unseat party leader Monyane Moleleki.

Prof Rapapa said the allegations were being peddled by AD members who were being used by external enemies to cause unnecessary conflicts in the party and undermine its stability.

The AD was the second biggest party in the previous four party government headed by All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane. AD leader Mr Moleleki was the deputy prime minister in that regime before it collapsed on 11 May 2020.

This after ABC legislators resolved to withdraw their party from the government and form the current two-party coalition with the Democratic Congress (DC). Former Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro succeeded Mr Thabane as prime minister on 20 May 2020. The AD was then forced into opposition after the ABC rejected its request to join Dr Majoro’s new coalition.

Even before the collapse of the previous Thabane-led regime, the AD was already experiencing its fair share of infighting which saw 26 of the party’s 80 constituency committees pass no confidence votes in the national executive committee (NEC) in March 2020.

At the time, their gripe was that the AD NEC had failed to expel the party’s secretary general, Mahali Phamotse, after she was charged with corruption for allegedly influencing the awarding of a 2015 high schools textbooks tender to Epic Printers and Molumeli Pty (Ltd).

Dr Phamotse was Education and Training Minister and a member of then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s DC party when the offence was allegedly committed in 2015.

Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya heard the case in February 2020 and immediately released Dr Phamotse on free bail.  The case is pending.

So serious was the AD infighting in March that the constituency committees demanded a special conference to elect a new NEC. The NEC had agreed to the demand but the special conference was later called off due to the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

And just when it appeared the infighting had died down, new fissures have emerged in the party. According to AD sources, some party members accuse Prof Rapapa of plotting to unseat Mr Moleleki. It is not clear who Prof Rapapa is working with in the alleged plot, if at all.

However, Prof Rapapa this week told the Sunday Express that he had no ambitions to take over the AD leadership. He said Mr Moleleki’s mandate expired in 2023 and the latter was free to seek re-election afterwards.

“It has come to my attention that there are rumours going around claiming that I am conniving with some members of the AD to topple our leader Monyane Moleleki,” Prof Rapapa said.

“Mr Moleleki is in his first five-year term which only ends in 2023. He can seek re-election afterwards.

“I support my leader and I would never involve myself in any plans to unseat him. I want to assure all AD members and Basotho that the rumours are not true.

“The allegations are being peddled by some AD members who are being used by external enemies hell-bent on causing unnecessary conflicts in the party.

“These people are unhappy with the growing numbers of the AD and the fact that the AD is the only stable party in the country. They just want to cause instability and commotion in the party,” Prof Rapapa said.

 

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