MASERU — The All Basotho Convention (ABC) youth league will next Friday hold an elective conference with at least four candidates vying for the league’s presidency.
Outgoing president, Libe Moremoholo, 35, will not seek re-election as he no longer qualifies to be in the youth structures due to age.
Under the ABC constitution, only those aged 35 and below qualify to be in the youth league.
Four candidates — Jane Mohoalohoalo, the current ABC youth league publicity secretary, Kutloano Lerotha, the ABC national assembly election candidate for the Mphosong constituency and Teleko Ntsokotsane of the party’s Thaba-Tseka constituency — have all thrown their hats in the ring for the league’s presidency.
Current ABC youth league secretary general, Thebe Makoatle, aged 34, and treasurer ‘Malelaka Lehohla will also not be contesting the election.
While Lehohla, like Moremoholo, is over the required age limit to be in the youth structures, Makoatle, whose age is still within range, told this paper that he had decided to withdraw from the contest to focus on other party pursuits.
Moremoholo told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that it was not going to be a walk in the park for those vying to fill his shoes.
He warned ABC youths to wean themselves from “a mentality of opposition” politics.
“Whoever takes over from me has his work cut out for him because first and foremost he should ensure that our youths are weaned from the mentality of opposition politics,” Moremoholo said.
“I’m saying this because we’re now a ruling party and our attitude should change. We’re no longer fighting Ntate Mosisili, therefore we should drop being militant and behave in line with our newly acquired status.”
The outgoing ABC youth league president said the person taking over from him should understand the mandate given the youth by the party’s constitution including working towards rooting out discrimination across the board regardless of one’s political affiliation.
Moremoholo said the new ABC youth president should ensure that people are not “discriminated against because of their political affiliation”.
In a surprising move, Moremoholo lashed out at the decision by the government to fire Democratic Congress (DC) youth league chairman Thuso Litjobo from his job as a driver in the Ministry of Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs.
Litjobo was fired for allegedly abusing a government vehicle and making political statements on radio before and after elections.
Moremoholo said the manner in which Litjobo was fired appeared discriminatory.
“Without condoning the fact that he is said to have used a government car for political purposes, the manner in which he was fired was discriminatory. When is discrimination acceptable and when is it not?” Moremoholo said.
“Litjobo was seen to be politically active before and after elections, Mohoalohoalo also was and the two are both civil servants. Does this mean civil servants should not be politically active?”
Moremoholo also stressed that his successor should be familiar with the ABC structures and be able to confidently represent the party internationally.
Mohoalohoalo, who was suspended from the ABC youth league in 2011, confirmed he was keen to succeed Moremoholo.
Mohoalohoalo, 34, said his main aim is to instill in the youths the spirit of leader Thomas Thabane who was resilient and persistently held rallies from 2007 to 2012 “to constitutionally remove the Mosisili government”.
“I want to ensure that the party continues to hold rallies as Ntate Thabane did and share constantly with the people at the grassroots progress within both government and the ABC, for the growth of the party,” Mohoalohoalo said.
“I also want to rebuild party structures, build the ABC youth league further, to make the voice of young people heard and facilitate their participation in policy formulation and implementation.”
Makoatle said his decision to withdraw from the race was informed by the realisation “that I can still do much more outside the youth league”.
“I still do qualify to contest but I’ve decided to give it a miss and focus on other things that I can do for the party without being a member of the national youth committee,” Makoatle said.