MASERU — The knives are out for Democratic Congress (DC) secretary general Ralechate ’Mokose with senior party officials accusing the former minister of contributing to the party’s dismal performance in Leribe constituencies in the May general election, the Lesotho Times heard this week.
Sources within the DC told this paper that they want ’Mokose relieved of his position after he allegedly imposed candidates during the party’s primary elections leading to the party being thrashed during the last election.
They said ’Mokose’s conduct in the run-up to the election will be the main subject when the Leribe constituency committees meet on July 28 for a post-mortem of the election.
The meeting will come just a day before DC leader Pakalitha Mosisili addresses a rally in Leribe to thank his supporters for voting for the party in the last election.
But sources say the other purpose of the rally is for Mosisili to investigate how the DC lost many constituencies in Leribe district and for ’Mokose to be given the boot if it is established that he indeed “played a part in the DC losing especially the Leribe constituencies”.
According to these sources, ’Mokose is blamed for sowing confusion in the DC by attempting to impose candidates in several constituencies including Tsikoane, Mphosong, Maputsoe, Matlakeng as well as Qalo in the Butha-Buthe and Mohale’s Hoek districts.
The DC went on to win only two of Leribe’s 13 constituencies namely Mphosong and Malibamatšo.
’Mokose allegedly imposed ’Makhaketla Leipa in the Qalo constituency which was won by Thabang Kholumo, the deputy leader of the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD).
In Tsikoane, ’Mokose allegedly tried to impose ’Maphoka Motoboli, the former labour minister but failed with Dr Thabiso Molapo eventually standing in for the party.
Molapo however lost the Tsikoane constituency to the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)’s Khotso Matla, the current Forestry Minister.
’Mokose also lost his Kolonyama constituency, which he had represented in the national assembly for two parliamentary terms, to the LCD’s Lebesa Maloi, the current Labour and Employment Minister.
In the Mohale’s Hoek constituency which was won by the DC, ’Mokose allegedly imposed Retšelisitsoe Masenyetse.
The DC also lost Pela-Tšeou, Leribe, Hlotse, Mahobong, Thaba-Phatšoa, Likhetlane and Peka constituencies.
“The DC’s Leribe constituency committees will on July 28 grill Ntate ’Mokose about allegations of misconduct during the primary elections and his tendency to impose people in constituencies against the will of voters,” said one of the sources.
“They will ask him to explain why the DC lost the 11 constituencies and the negative influence his conduct might have had, thus denying the DC victory at the polls.”
Another source added that the Leribe constituency committees felt let down by ’Mokose and that if it was established beyond reasonable doubt that he contributed to the DC’s loss in the district “they will call for his departure”.
“The committees intend proposing that Ntate ’Mokose be fired as the party’s interim secretary general because our elective conference will only be in January,” the source said.
Another source who was part of the DC’s closed meeting on Saturday for the Thaba-Bosiu, Maama and Koro-Koro constituencies said it was not unusual for constituency committees “to call to order senior party officials”.
The source, who was part of Saturday’s closed meeting, revealed that former MP ’Malebaka Bulane was also taken to task for alleged misconduct.
“People opened up about their grievances and the negative impact her conduct had on the party. People need to be called to order. It is necessary that Ntate ’Mokose is put before the Leribe constituency committees to defend himself and justify the decisions he made,” the source said.
“It’s called constructive criticism. He should take it like a man and own up to his mistakes. It will also serve as a warning for him and those who come after him to tread carefully and not repeat similar mistakes.”
The source added that the DC lost the Leribe constituencies not because it was a weak party but because of “the calibre of leadership we have”.
When contacted for comment on Tuesday, ’Mokose denied imposing candidates at constituencies and told this paper that he was not swayed because “these are mere allegations meant to spoil my name”.
“I’m sure people who are saying all these things are disgruntled losers who are looking for someone to blame. I’m not the one who decides who should and shouldn’t contest elections. They are merely looking for a scapegoat,” ‘Mokose said.
“I’m not scared by these accusations because it’s obvious they were concocted by people who are angry. I’ve also lost the Kolonyama constituency but do you see me blaming anyone?”
’Mokose said he had during the primary elections entered only but one constituency where there were conflicts which on three occasions interfered with the electoral process.
“The only constituency I went to is Matlakeng and that was only because the election process had been interfered with thrice,” a defiant ’Mokose said.
’Mokose added that only sub-branch, branch and constituency committees were responsible for choosing potential election candidates and that “I only deal with things at headquarters level”.
“It therefore does not make sense how I could have possibly tampered with the election process. Like I’ve said already, this is just an attempt to spoil my name,” ’Mokose said.
“It simply doesn’t make sense, unless if course someone was saying that I’d approached people to order them who to vote for, which I wouldn’t do.”