MASERU — Long-serving Basotho National Party secretary general Ranthomeng Matete lost his post to a relative lightweight Moletsane Jonathan during the party’s elective conference last weekend.
Matete’s ouster was the only major surprise as most of the party’s top brass retained their positions.
He is now the party’s deputy secretary general.
Thesele ’Maseribane is still the party’s president as he was not opposed, while Joang Molapo was voted back as his deputy.
Sekhohola Molelle retained his post as treasurer.
Matete, who has been the general secretary for three consecutive terms, was beaten to the post by new member Jonathan.
Matete has a long history of loyalty to the BNP from the time he was a personal secretary to the party’s founder, the late Leabua Jonathan.
Recently he was seen as the voice of reason within the party and a uniting force between warring factions led by former leader Metsing Lekhanya and the current leader ’Maseribane.
For a long time he was regarded as one of the BNP heavyweights until he lost the race for the party’s presidency to ’Maseribane after the ouster of Lekhanya in December 2010.
Other people who were elected to the executive committee are former youth leader, Tsepo Monethi, who is now the public relations officer.
Monethi replaced Letlafuoa Molapo, and ’Mapulumo Hlao, the former chairperson.
Hlao is now the northern region’s representative, succeeding Reentseng Joel.
The new executive committee has to work hard to have the BNP largely represented in the upcoming parliament.
It also has a colossal task of claiming the party’s properties from agencies that have been running them for a long time.
The BNP won a property ownership case against a local lawyer, Stefan Carl Buys, in November 2010 after years of running it against objections from ’Maseribane’s faction, which was then not in power.
’Maseribane told delegates at the conference on Saturday that their lawyers were still working to ensure the final and complete return of all their properties to the party.
The former ruling party is now a shadow of its former self after it was ousted in a military coup in 1986.
The BNP only had three MPs in the last parliament after performing dismally in the last election in 2007.
Analysts say the party is still struggling to shake off its image as a party that ruled with an iron fist in the 1970s and early ‘80s under Jonathan.