MASERU — Main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) interim deputy secretary general, Semano Sekatle, has pulled out of what should have been a bruising contest for the post of secretary general at the party’s elective indaba this month-end, the Lesotho Times can reveal.
Sekatle was expected to go head-to-head with interim secretary-general Ralechate ‘Mokose for the top post at the party’s January 25-27 conference at Maseru Methodist High School hall in Berea.
However, a senior DC official working closely with the party’s executive committee told the Lesotho Times on Friday that Sekatle had resolved to withdraw his nomination for the post of secretary general and will instead now contest for the post of deputy secretary general.
“It was expected that Ntate Sekatle would take Ntate ‘Mokose on for the position of secretary general but he has withdrawn his nomination,” the source said.
‘Mokose in his capacity as secretary general is yet to officially announce the final list of nominations in a circular to be distributed to DC constituencies nationwide.
The source said Sekatle had probably bowed to pressure from several constituencies that are pushing “that the executive committee be retained as is”.
“Most constituencies have indicated through their nominations that they want members of the current interim executive committee to be retained. Remember Ntate Sekatle is the deputy secretary general,” the source said.
Another source, also a senior DC official, revealed that Lineo Molise-Mabusela and Refiloe Litjobo, both of whom had been nominated for the position of deputy secretary-general, had also declined their nominations.
Litjobo and Molise-Mabusela represented the DC in Koro-Koro and Hlotse constituencies respectively during last May’s general election.
According to the source, Sekatle struck a deal with the two to withdraw their nominations.
“It had to be negotiated with them to pull out. Besides, Ntate Sekatle is very senior to them and also a seasoned party veteran. They did not stand a chance against him anyway,” the source said.
However, it was not clear if Dr Thabiso Molapo, the DC’s May 26 election candidate and nominee for the post of deputy secretary general, had also withdrawn his nomination.
When contacted for comment on Tuesday, Sekatle, confirmed that he had withdrawn his nomination to contest for both treasurer and secretary general.
“Yes, I have withdrawn my nomination to contest the posts of treasurer and secretary general. I have settled for the position of deputy secretary general,” Sekatle said.
Litjobo has also according to the source, withdrawn another nomination to contest for the post of treasurer but that he will instead compete for the post of deputy chief editor of the party’s propaganda mouth-piece, Thebe, newspaper.
He will deputise Tšoeu Mokeretla who appears likely to retain his post.
Litjobo is slated to compete with the current DC youth league president Mosala Mojakisane for the post of deputy chief editor, the source said.
Meanwhile, this paper has learnt that former forestry minister and the DC’s Sebapala constituency MP Kabelo Mafura, former National Assembly Speaker and Hloahloeng constituency MP Nthloi Motsamai and Hloaele Mokoto, the DC MP for the Malibamats’o constituency could have all declined nomination to make room for the current treasurer ‘Mamphono Khaketla to retain her position uncontested, in line with the call to preserve the current committee.
Kose Makoa, the deputy chairman, is also said to have withdrawn his nomination but has settled for the post of deputy chairman which he has been holding for the past year on an interim basis.
However, another nominee for the chairmanship, former government secretary Tlohang Sekhamane could not comment on whether or not he had accepted his nomination.
“I’m in Mokhotlong as we speak. I don’t know anything about my nomination and what it means. I was nominated without consultation,” Sekhamane said on Tuesday.
“I’m yet to come down to Maseru to seek an explanation and understand what is going on.”
Litjobo told this paper that he had declined nomination for the posts of both treasurer and deputy secretary general because “I’m not yet ready for it”.
“Despite people in the party structures showing confidence in me by recommending me to run, I’m not yet ready to contest against my elders,” Litjobo said.
“I realised that I had to be patient and wait for such a time my seniors are ready to relinquish the reins of leadership to younger blood.”
When contacted for comment yesterday, ‘Mokose said the nominations had still not been officially announced but indications were that the interim executive committee will be preserved.
“There’s nothing official yet on that front, the nominations are yet to be officially announced. However, indications are that the executive committee will more or less be retained,” ‘Mokose said.