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Six to battle for BNP top post

Bongiwe Zihlangu

 MASERU — Six people are vying for the leadership of the Basotho National Party (BNP) to replace Metsing Lekhanya who was ousted last December.

The elective conference is set for March 25-27.

Retired university lecturer Professor Kopano Makoa and Majara Molapo, the former BNP publicity secretary, have confirmed their interest in leading the troubled former ruling party.

So has ‘Mabatloung Lillane, a garrulous BNP activist who was vehemently opposed to Lekhanya’s leadership.

Two brothers, Joang and Pius Molapo, are also reported to have thrown their names in the hat although the Sunday Express could not reach them for confirmation at the time of going to print yesterday.

Pius was a cadet officer in the army before serving as foreign affairs minister in Lekhanya’s military government.

Joang is a contractor.

Thabo Makeka, a respected labour lawyer, is also understood to be in the running.

“I am indeed vying for the BNP leadership,” said Molapo who refused to give further details about his candidature. 

Makoa said: “I’ve always made my intentions clear. It’s just that in previous instances the elections never materialised. My vision hasn’t changed.”

Lillane also confirmed that she was seeking the BNP top post.

“I’ve tried before, like in 2007 when I was stopped. But nothing can stop me now. I’m definitely contesting the BNP leadership post in March,” Lillane said.

But as the names emerged Lekhanya could not hide his contempt for the calibre of candidates who have lined up to replace him.

“They don’t make the cut,” he said when asked about his assessment of the candidates.

Of his greatest nemesis Makoa, Lekhanya said he was not impressed.

“As much as I like theory, I believe in practicality. He’s a theoretician, I don’t believe in theory alone. I don’t have much to say about him. He’s a former teacher,” said Lekhanya about Makoa.

“People like him are dictatorial and self-centred. The problem with teachers is that they think they know better than other people. He’s a technocrat lacking in good leadership skills,” added the former military ruler who himself banned political activity in Lesotho when he staged a coup in 1986.

“You can’t just jump out of the campus into the leadership position of a political party.”

When asked about Lillane, Lekhanya exclaimed: “What? Wait a minute!”

Then he let rip a sarcastic laugh.

“She’s a non-starter. People don’t know her from a bar of soap. She does not even feature in a mere village committee. She can’t make it. She just can’t make it,” Lekhanya said.

He also had nothing good to say about the Molapo brothers.

“Pius was a minister in my military government. He came from the campus, into the army and into government. What can I say about him?”

“What do you say about people who do not have self-respect and lack respect for other people?”

“Now let’s talk about his brother, Joang. Ah, that one. Pius is head and shoulders above his brother. You’re asking me about that one? I’ve absolutely nothing to say about him.”

He also rubbished Makeka’s candidacy. 

“That one is a lawyer. Lawyers are like architects, lacking in the aspect of human character. He’s a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).”

“But ironically, he acts as attorney for the Chinese who exploit Basotho for cheap labour at the factories. He’s been an attorney for the oppressors. None of these guys would make an ideal BNP leader.”

Only the secretary general Ranthomeng Matete is the ideal candidate, according to Lekhanya.

“Ranthomeng Matete would make a great leader. He’s experienced in administration and also served as a personal aide to former prime minister Leabua Jonathan for a decade,” Lekhanya said.

“He’s got good leadership skills. He’s a well refined man. He’s a quiet character which makes him appear as somewhat aloof.”

But when it comes to presenting his cases, Lekhanya said, Matete is as excellent as they come.

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