BNP fight gets ugly

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MASERU — Basotho National Party (BNP) members who were fired from the party last week have said their expulsion was null and void insisting they were still members of the party despite the national executive committee’s decision.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the seven members alleged that their expulsion was part of the leadership’s desperate attempt to exclude them from the party’s annual general conference.
The BNP annual general conference is scheduled for 19 March.
The expelled members include former youth leader Moeketsi Hanyane and former party treasurer Seabata Thabisi.
Mothobi Moholi, the former deputy secretary general and one of the party’s longest serving members was also booted out. 
Mateisi Mateisi, Motsie Raliile, Khoboso Monts’o and ’Mapalesa Mosetse were also expelled.
They are all part of a BNP faction that wants the party leader Metsing Lekhanya out.
The faction has since said it wants university lecturer Kopano Makoa to take over as leader.
Hanyane told the media that they considered their expulsion a “dirty trick” by Lekhanya’s leadership to stall their regime change agenda.
“Our expulsion, as with that of previous members comes just weeks short of the party’s annual general conference. This shows a pattern,” Hanyane said.
“Around this time last year four members were suspended from the party pending a disciplinary hearing. Today we are talking expulsion.”
“This deserves condemnation from the BNP supporters. It is one of a series of tactics used by Major General Lekhanya to cling to power,” Hanyane said.
“It is merely a solid stamp on the song we have been singing all along, that Lekhanya is a dictator.”
The expulsion, Hanyane said, had helped expose Lekhanya as “an enemy of the BNP and democracy”.
“As far as we are concerned we are still legitimate members of the BNP,” Hanyane said adding that they will still continue to push for Lekhanya’s removal.
“We will continue working tirelessly to have Major General Lekhanya ousted, rebuild the BNP and win power via legitimate means,” Hanyane said.
“This (expulsion) does not by a long shot discourage us from pushing for transformation within the BNP. We are never going to tire in our quest to see him out.
“We are working towards helping the BNP reclaim the political space it lost in the last general election.
“If we manage to have Lekhanya ousted at the conference in March, we give a guarantee that the party’s performance at the polls will improve dramatically,” he said.
Hanyane said for them to be in a good stead to remove Lekhanya, they were going to be part of the conference and attempt to “persuade the conference to reject our expulsion”.
“We are going to be part of the March conference against all odds. And we hope to make an impact,” Hanyane said.
“We also hope to influence the conference to reject our expulsion as we believe it is unconstitutional.”
Hanyane said the faction was going to challenge the expulsion in the courts.
“Whoever feels we are stamping on their toes had better prepare for a fierce legal battle. We are not going to take anything lying down,” Hanyane said.
Thabisi said the expulsion was unprocedural.
“Certain principles were overlooked. For instance, we were never given a full report of the record of proceedings and disciplinary hearings,” Thabisi said.
‘Mapalesa Mosetse echoed her colleagues’ sentiments regarding their expulsion.
Mosetse, who is the chairperson of the party’s Lithabaneng constituency committee, said she was not bothered by the expulsion because she still had support at grassroots level.
“My constituency has been rallying around me every step of the way,” Mosetse said.
She said the Lithabaneng 35 constituency is the one that had sent her to tell the leadership about their grievances.
“The BNP leadership should first suspend the Lithabaneng constituency before they can even fantasise about enforcing this joke they call my expulsion.”
Moholi said he had lost respect for Lekhanya.
“I am just shocked by the measures Lekhanya has adopted to cling to power. He will cling to power until his last breath,” Moholi said.
“But it is not surprising though. He indicated a long time ago that it was unfair for us to demand that he retire. He said he did not understand why we wanted him out.
“He lamented that he did not understand why people were on his case when all the BNP leaders before him, namely the late Leabua Jonathan and Rets’elisitsoe Sekhonyana died while still in power, without anybody pushing for either one of them to step down,” Moholi said.

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