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Turf war dominates LCD indaba

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — A factional turf war was expected to dominate the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party’s leadership conference which started last night.

Tensions have been running high in the party with one faction pushing for the ouster of the LCD’s national executive committee.

Party insiders and analysts were predicting a watershed indaba that could make or break the LCD.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was expected to officially open the conference around 7 pm last night at ‘Mathabiseng Convention Centre grounds.

Petitions from constituencies that want the national executive committee disbanded were expected to be a top item on the agenda.

The constituencies have accused the committee of being “inept, disloyal and insubordinate”.

The conference was expected to only discuss 26 of the 36 petitions received from the constituencies.

The LCD has been rocked by factional fights over the past few months.

The leadership conference was expected to define the future of the LCD both as political entity and a ruling party.

Hours before the official opening, the mood at the venue was already tense.

“We have confidence in the leader and the national executive committee,” read a big banner at the entrance to the conference venue.

In one corner of the banner was the LCD’s eagle emblem while on the other there was a sign of a fire extinguisher.

The fire extinguisher on the banner, according to party members, represented Litima-Mollo (Fire Extinguishers), a faction believed to be aligned to Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.

He is also secretary-general of the LCD’s national executive committee that some party members want out.

The Litima-Mollo group is fighting Lija-Mollo (Fire Eaters), a faction believed to be led Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.

The youths aligned to the Litima-Mollo faction were defiantly holding up the banner and singing, among them the song Hanyane Butleng ka Komiti which, loosely translated, means “leave the national executive committee alone”.

Lija-Mollo’s songs were largely praising Mosisili.

Earlier in the day, the Litima-Mollo faction was rumoured to be planning to raise a motion to reject Mosisili’s speech if they found it too damaging on their side.

An LCD MP who spoke to this paper confirmed that “such a plan is being brewed”.

“They are waiting for the leader to address the conference,” he said.

“If they don’t approve of the speech they plan to raise a motion to have it rejected.

“Usually the leader’s speech sets the tone of a conference.

“If they succeed in having it rejected it might mean the conference will be aborted and all business deferred to the annual general conference.”

The MP said the strategy was to block the discussion of the petitions that were calling for the ouster of the national executive committee.

Another MP whose constituency wrote one of the petitions told the Sunday Express that his faction was planning to “steal the show by changing the sequence of the agenda”.

“In the agenda, the discussion of the petitions features as the last item and we are devising a plan to have that changed totally,” the MP said.

“If the leader’s speech is not rejected we are going to move that the next item to be dealt with be the petitions and the request for a special conference to disband the committee.

“If we succeed we will also call for the rest of the business to be deferred to the LCD’s annual general conference anticipated for this December or early January.”

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