MASERU — A small group of disgruntled Basotho National Party (BNP) supporters protested at the party’s annual general conference held last Saturday demanding the ouster of party leader Metsing Lekhanya.
The supporters, who numbered about 30, denounced Lekhanya telling him to go back to his rural village in Mantsónyane to look after his livestock.
“Ha a tsamaee a ilo lisa ha habo Mantsónyane,”
They also burnt BNP campaign posters bearing Lekhanya’s image.
The supporters reacted in anger after they failed to hand over a petition calling on Lekhanya to step down.
The petition, which was seen by the Lesotho Times, said Lekhanya should step down as he had failed to run the party.
They said Lekhanya’s leadership style had caused the party to lose support.
Delegates at the BNP conference however stopped Lekhanya from leaving the conference room to accept the petition outside the hall.
Motloheloa Khaka, who is the BNP organiser for Maseru region, told the petitioners that the petition could not be accepted because the party’s national executive committee had not been informed about it.
“The executive committee should have been notified about the petition so that it could form part of the agenda.
“The petition cannot be accepted under the circumstances,” Khaka told the party supporters.
BNP secretary-general, Ranthomeng Matete, said they were not aware that some party supporters would present a petition to Lekhanya.
“All we knew was that some people would be picketing outside the conference hall not that they had a petition to submit.
“We could therefore not let the leader (Lekhanya) out of the conference hall at that particular time,” said Matete.
Several senior BNP officials who have been suspended from the party took part in the protests.
Among these was suspended president of the BNP youth league Alexis Hanyane.
Hanyane said they would press on with their protests to force Lekhanya to step down.
“Now we are firm in our position that he should go. We want him (Lekhanya) to step down from the leadership seat,” said Hanyane.
BNP parliamentarian Seabata Thabisi, who also took part in the protest, lashed out at Lekhanya and the party’s national executive committee.
Thabisi said the party was suffering from “serious maladministration”.
“Our party is suffering from maladministration and there is no one to blame other than the executive committee and the leader,” said Thabisi.
Thabisi said the suspension of senior party officials showed that all was not well within the BNP.
“How do you ban all top party officials if you really care about the sustainability and success of the party? Surely we need the leader to step down from the leadership seat,” said Thabisi.
Thabisi is one of only three BNP senior officials in the National Assembly.
The three made it to parliament courtesy of the proportional representation system after their party failed to garner a single seat at the constituency level during the 2007 general election.
chanted the party supporters in the local Sesotho language.
Thabisi, who is the former BNP treasurer, said the main problem within the party was poor communication between the executive committee members and ordinary party members.
Political analysts say the BNP, Lesotho’s first ruling party, could be teetering on the brink of collapse due to internal wrangles.