MASERU – The discontent that has been simmering in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) leadership is beginning to spread to the grassroots structures of the party.
There are signs that Lesotho’s biggest opposition party is on the verge of cracking at its foundation.
The first real indication of these fissures emerged this week with revelations that four of the party’s six branches in Lithoteng constituency are on the verge of defecting to the new Senkatana party.
Senkatana is the brainchild of former ABC deputy secretary for publicity, Lehlohonolo Tsehlana.
Tsehlana was booted out of the ABC last year for insubordination.
The ABC holds the Lithoteng constituency seat in parliament but that control could soon slip away.
The four branches told the MP for Lithoteng, Lebuoajoang Mokhanoi, that they were now planning to join Senkatana.
They announced their decision at a rally held on Sunday.
Mokhanoi told the Lesotho Times that the other two branches were still undecided but there was consensus they too should join Senkatana.
“The rally was attended by all the six branches. All but two of them decided that we should go to Senkatana. They said we should leave the ABC,” Mokhanoi said.
He said the ABC constituency committee held a meeting on Monday night to discuss the decision.
“The committee said they cannot just venture to move to Senkatana without getting an explanation on how the policies of the new party (Senkatana) will affect them,” Mokhanoi said.
“They said they did not want to experience a situation similar to the one they encountered with the ABC after they had left the LCD only to find that the party was run like a one-man band or personal property.”
Mokhanoi said the committee decided to invite Senkatana to explain their policies before the branches could make their final decision.
According to Mokhanoi the meeting will be held tomorrow.
He said although the other two branches had not yet announced their decision to join Senkatana it did not mean that they were hostile to the idea.
“They were of the opinion that the other branches should not rush into joining Senkatana but rather wait and see how the new ABC national executive committee elected last December would solve the problems facing the constituency.
“The other four said if the leadership of Senkatana would still treat the party like the ABC they were prepared to maintain their independence,” Mokhanoi said.
Asked what he would do if the majority defect Mokhanoi said he will follow what the people want.
“I will follow the decision of the majority. I am controlled by the majority. The four branches have made it clear that they want to leave ABC.”
Mokhanoi said the people in the constituency were frustrated by the infighting within the party.
The biggest problem however is the presence of Mokhoro, he said.
Mokhoro is an election symbol under which the ABC national organiser Molobeli Soulo contested the 2007 general elections.
Soulo lost the election but came into parliament under the proportional representation programme.
Mokhanoi said Mokhoro was busy undermining the ABC constituency committee in Lithoteng.
“The people are not happy about the interference by an unelected committee.”
“The ABC is still running smoothly in Lithoteng and has no divisions except that the National Executive Committee (NEC) has involved the Mokhoro party within the ABC constituency,” he said.
He said he was bitter that the NEC wanted him to work directly with the Mokhoro committee when there are clear structures under ABC in the constituency.
By Nat Molomo