MASERU — Former MP and leader of Senkatana party, Lehlohonolo Tšehlana, claims there have been moves by grassroots members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party to woo him back into the fold.
Tšehlana quit the ABC in 2008 after he sharply differed with party leader Thomas Thabane over the direction the party was taking.
He was particularly miffed by the ABC’s resolution in 2007 to appoint Thabane life president, a move Tšehlana condemned as undemocratic and unconstitutional.
Tšehlana was the ABC’s deputy publicity secretary when he left to form Senkatana.
But Tšehlana has not had it easy since he quit the ABC and formed his Senkatana party in December 2008.
The party has generally failed to make any significant impact on Lesotho’s harsh political terrain.
Senkatana performed dismally in the last election in May and failed to win a single seat in Lesotho’s 120 member parliament.
Tšehlana himself also failed to defend his Mokhotlong constituency seat which he lost to the Democratic Congress’ candidate and former government secretary Tlohang Sekhamane.
The Mokhotlong constituency had for years been his forte, winning the constituency when he was still a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and later when he was still with the ABC.
Political observers say his attempt to go back to the ABC could be an attempt to seek relevance after he was dumped into the political dustbin last May.
Tšehlana confirmed to the Lesotho Times on Wednesday that there had been overtures by some ABC members to have him rejoin the party which is the biggest partner in the coalition government that also includes the LCD and the Basotho National Party.
“I told the people who have been calling me about this issue to write to the leadership of my party then we can take it from there,” he said.
Tšehlana said the people who had attempted to woo him back claimed to be from lower levels of the party leadership such as district and constituency committees.
He said he had told “these people that they need to tread with caution on the matter as it could cause political mayhem within the ABC resulting in a possible split”.
“I have told them that my move could negatively affect the party’s stability,” he said.
Tšehlana claimed that one of the factors that forced him out of the ABC was the matter of infighting within the party over the succession issue.
“There were individuals who felt threatened that I was possibly the next-in-line to the party leadership,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ABC secretary general Thabiso Litšiba on Wednesday poured water on Tšehlana’s claims dismissing the rumours of a reunion as “street talk”.
“We know nothing about such a claim, it is baseless and unfounded,” he said.
Litšiba said the claim was mere “street talk” that did not reflect the views of the ABC leadership.
“We know nothing about it,” he said.