MASERU — The ruling Democratic Congress (DC) has been rocked by serious squabbles ahead of next month’s general election.
Barely two months after its formation the DC is already grappling with factional fights that are now threatening to derail the party’s bid to win the May 26 election.
The Lesotho Times can reveal that all is not well in some constituencies where eight party members have alleged that the leadership has imposed candidates on them.
There are bitter disputes in Qalo, Tsikoane, Maputsoe, Mphosong, Mohale’s Hoek, Lithabaneng, Tsoana-Makhulo and Qaqatu constituencies.
DC leader and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili told a rally in Butha-Buthe constituency on Saturday that he is concerned about squabbles in the party.
Mosisili said it was sad that the DC members had left the squabbles in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in February only for them to start fighting.
“Why did we leave the LCD if we keep indulging in the same quarrels? Was it not better to have jettisoned or left this thokolosi (goblin) behind us?” Mosisili asked the supporters.
“I fail to understand why we broke away from the LCD if we are continuing with conflicts that I thought we were running away from,” Mosisili said.
“If by mistake we carried a thokolosi in our baggage when we left the LCD, let us unload and inspect the contents of our bags closely and chase away the thokolosi if we find it,” he said.
“We cannot afford to go on like this.”
Mosisili’s statements came after some members of the Qalo constituency wrote to secretary general Ralechate ’Mokose complaining that the candidate for their area was imposed on them by the national executive committee.
Seven other constituencies have also lodged similar complaints.
’Mokose confirmed the executive committee had to send envoys to the eight constituencies to mediate between the warring factions.
He said some DC supporters are not happy with the decision to field some candidates who had already been elected to represent the LCD before they crossed to the DC with Mosisili in February.
’Mokose said the party had also decided that those who came second during the LCD primaries would automatically become DC candidates if the person who beat them remained with the LCD.
Where the LCD primary results were disputed the DC held fresh elections, he said.
“I do not understand why these people want to challenge the decisions reached by us all,” ’Mokose said.
“If we allow them to continue like this there will be no end to their objections until the general election comes.”
He said the national executive committee had tried hard to satisfy “all parties by sending its envoys to monitor the fresh elections”.
In Qalo constituency, ’Mokose said, people were given a chance to elect their candidate and ’Makhaketla Leipa, who was an MP for the same constituency in the past parliament, won.
He said the executive committee solved the impasse in Tsikoane constituency where it was discovered that Labour Minister ’Maphoka Motoboli had 79 extra votes and was wrongly declared winner against Dr Thabiso Molapo.
“The by-election was held and Dr Molapo won. To the best of my knowledge they are now working cooperatively with ’M`e Motoboli.”
’Mokose said in Mphosong the current MP, Thapelo Rakhoro, had raised some issues but later withdrew to allow former natural resources ministry principal secretary, Bataung Leleka, to be the DC candidate.
He however admitted that the national executive had failed to deal with problems in Mohale’s Hoek.
Tahleho Mabetha, the last MP for National Independent Party, defected to the Lesotho Workers’ Party after losing to the retired Justice Ministry Principal Secretary, Retselisitsoe Masenyetse.
Mabetha decided to contest under the LWP when the people chose Masenyetse instead of him, ’Mokose said.
The executive committee also intervened by monitoring by-elections in Lithabaneng, Tsoana-Makhulo, Maputsoe and Qaqatu, according to the secretary general.
“I think the people who are causing trouble have been infiltrated into the party by opposition parties,” he added.
“Sometimes people cry foul when they are treated roughly by their opponents within the party.”