MASERU — In a new twist to the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa)’s notorious presidential elections of October 26, second vice-president Lebohang Thotanyana (pictured) has distanced himself from his initial acceptance of the much-publicised election result.
Addressing a media briefing on Thursday, Thotanyana said there had been no transparency in the electoral process.
The elections held in October at the Lefa headquarters in Maseru saw sitting President Salemane Phafane and his now-estranged second vice-president Thotanyana as the only candidates — the result saw Phafane win the poll by 39 votes to 12.
Thotanyana’s reason for an eleventh hour about turn to the elections whose results saw him installed as the second vice-president, was that prior to the October poll, there had been a number of irregularities surrounding the whole process which he brought forth.
“I wrote to Lefa on several instances about my dissatisfaction on how Difa representatives were chosen but to my surprise my concerns were ignored. I also wanted to get some clarity on why the association’s resources were used by some of the NEC (National Executive Committee) members for the election,” Thotanyana said.
Thotanyana further stated that according to Lefa statutes the elections must be done by secret ballot but to his surprise the past ones were just done in open space in the congress. He added that for 25 Difa delegates to have been booked at Mafeteng Golden hotel on election eve proves there was no transparency to the electoral process.
He said even the delegates do not deny that they were indeed entertained at the hotel prior to the elections although they gave inconsistent answers as to who footed the bill.
“One of the delegates said the camp was sponsored although it is not clear who the sponsor was, the other one said everyone was paying for himself while the other said he does not know who paid for the camp,” Thotanyana said.
Over a fortnight ago, Phafane had attempted to defend himself against allegations of vote-buying, claiming the hotel bill in question had been “a full sponsorship by the hotel” and that the group that had stayed there “were delegates from one of the contesting camps”.
The news of the said vote-buying scam had been broken by our sister publication, Lesotho Times.
During a press briefing, Phafane labelled Thotanyana a suspect in the leaking of documents substantiating the alleged vote-buying claims to the media. A subsequent investigation was carried by an extraordinary Lefa congress proposed to deliberate on the issue.
However, a special congress was held yesterday in compliance with Fifa’s orders to Lefa.