MASERU — The knives are out for senior members of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party as the bitter factional fights within the party intensified.
At least 42 out 80 LCD constituencies have petitioned the party to axe seven of the nine members of the party’s supreme national executive committee.
Only party leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla have been spared.
The petitions were addressed to party secretary-general Mothetjoa Metsing (pictured left).
The constituencies say they have lost confidence in the party’s national executive committee and want it disbanded.
If the petition is approved by the party it could see Metsing and other senior party officials falling by the wayside.
Senior party officials who spoke to the Lesotho Times say the matter was part of the bitter factional fights that have threatened to split the party over the past months.
Metsing is said to be leading a faction within the LCD that is seeking to take over from Mosisili.
The other faction is said to be led by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.
Both Metsing and Moleleki have fiercely denied in the past that they were leading factions within the party.
Other members of the national executive committee who could fall by the wayside are chairman Thabang Pheko, deputy chairman Mohlabi Tsekoa and treasurer Popane Lebesa.
Also being targeted are deputy secretary-general Lebohang Nts’inyi, the party’s Mololi newspaper publisher Khotso Matla and public relations officer Motloheloa Phooko.
Sources within the ruling party accused the executive members of seeking to “sow confusion within the LCD”.
The constituencies are alleged to have held several consultations after the youth elections last month to plan how to deal with the Metsing faction.
Sources said the petitions calling for the dissolution of the LCD national executive committee were delivered at the party’s headquarters yesterday.
The constituencies that have petitioned the party to act against the senior party officials include among others Hololo, Kolonyama, Semena, ‘Maliepetsane, Qeme, Hlotse, Maputsoe, Qacha’s Nek and Lebakeng.
The constituencies are calling for an emergency conference to disband the LCD executive.
They also want the party to appoint an interim committee that will organise an elective conference where new office bearers will be elected.
The constituencies are accusing the current committee of corruption and insubordination which they said compromised the party leader’s security.
The Mafeteng constituency is said to have a gripe with the secretary-general for turning down their requests for meetings.
Constituencies such as Kolonyama, Hololo, Maputsoe, Hlotse and Semena are said to have concerns with the fact that the LCD executive committee, through its secretary-general, failed to keep constituencies updated on developments regarding the attempted assassination of Mosisili in April last year.
They said the committee’s conduct regarding this matter showed “it does not care about the well-being of the leader”.
They also complain that although the committee accepted the letter allegedly penned by LCD youths demanding that Mosisili reshuffle his cabinet last year, Metsing denied any knowledge of the letter at
the party’s leadership conference last year.
They also complain that they have not been kept up to date about the research allegedly funded by the party to the tune of M150 000 to ascertain why the LCD lost out on a number of constituencies in the 2007 elections.
A former member of the interim youth committee affiliated to the Metsing faction said he was “not surprised by the turn of events”.
“When we lost out on the youth committee elections, we knew it would not be long before they came for us. It was not a matter of if but when,” he said.
Another youth member allied to the Metsing faction, who also saw some of the letters, said they were going “to fight this to the very end”.
“We have also got a lot of dirt on them and it won’t be long before we fight fire with fire,” the youth said.
However, a senior LCD official who is also a minister and an MP confirmed to this paper that they had written the letters “because it is within our constitutional rights to do it”.
“There is nothing underhanded about expressing lack of confidence in the LCD executive. They did it to the youth committee in 2008,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t we do it to them? Was it nice when they were having a field day discrediting us with every chance they got? I say, let the whip crack!”
Efforts to get comment from Metsing failed last night as his phone was not being answered.