MASERU – The power struggles within the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party took a fresh twist when dissidents disrupted a youth league rally last weekend.
The disturbances at the Lesotho Cooperatives College hall in Maseru were the most vivid illustration of the ongoing factional fights within the LCD.
Sources within the LCD told the Lesotho Times this week that the police had to be called in to quell unruly elements at the rally.
The mob tried to disrupt the rally by singing when youth leaders tried to address the rally on Saturday night.
The source said the singing mob continued to disrupt proceedings even when the police had been called into the hall to restore order.
“At the time everything was at a standstill,” said a youth league committee member who requested anonymity.
“A policewoman who had been called to the rally then stood on the podium, took a microphone and announced that if the group continued to disrupt the meeting she was going to call off the meeting,” the source said.
“At this they sang even louder to the extent that the police grabbed the ringleader, a woman from Qhalasi constituency, and threw her out of the hall.”
After that the meeting continued with minor disruptions, the source said.
The LCD youth league leader, Mosala Mojakisane, confirmed that there were disruptions at the Saturday rally.
He however denied that the problems were triggered by factionalism.
He said the problem was that some youth members appeared drunk when they came for the meeting. He said the problems were not caused by factionalism.
“There were some who came to the rally drunk and they caused much confusion that it was not easy to continue with the programme,” Mojakisane said.
“However, we were able to deal with those drunkards and continued with our meeting.”
The weekend youth rally was part of a series of meetings the youth league committees held in the districts throughout the country to gauge the strength
of the party and exhort constituency youth committee to strengthen party structures ahead of local government elections which are scheduled for this year.
So far rallies have been held in eight districts except in Thaba-Tseka and Mokhotlong.
Sources say at all rallies there were disruptions.
However, Mojakisane said there were only debates on whether the rallies were constitutional or not.
“Some also challenged the legitimacy of the rallies saying they were not sanctioned by the national executive committee,” he said.
“They wanted a letter from the national executive committee explicitly saying there would be a youth meeting at a certain place. We however told them that we notified the committee that we were going to hold rallies,” he said.
It is an open secret that relations between the youth league and the national executive committees are at their lowest ebb.
The youth league committee is believed to be aligned to Monyane Moleleki who is locked in a fierce fight with Mothetjoa Metsing for the control of the party.
Moleleki and Metsing have however both denied that they are leading any factions.
The Moleleki-aligned youth league is also said to have thrown its weight behind moves to liquidate the LCD national executive committee.
At least 36 constituencies last year filed petitions calling for the dissolution of the national executive committee.
The constituencies said only party leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla should be spared.
The petitions will be discussed at the LCD’s extraordinary meeting that has been scheduled for March.