MASERU — The ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party has so far only endorsed primary election results in 36 out of the 80 constituencies after the polls were marred by serious irregularities.
The primary election chaos is a reflection of the bitter infighting gripping the ruling party ahead of a general election next year.
The LCD’s national executive committee is still to approve results from 44 constituencies after rival candidates raised queries about the conduct of the elections.
According to an official circular of the LCD released last week, constituencies whose primary election results have not been approved include Mahobong in Leribe whose incumbent MP is party secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing.
Also not approved are results for Tsikoane constituency in Leribe which is represented by trade assistant minister Khotso Matla.
Results for Hlotse, represented by the home affairs assistant minister, Lineo Molise, have also not been approved.
The outcome for the Qhoali constituency primary election, currently represented by Education Assistant Minister ‘Matanki Mokhabi, has also not been approved.
A senior party official who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity, said Metsing’s constituency was not included on the list of those officially confirmed by the party as there were queries regarding the handling of the Mahobong primary election.
There were queries regarding the result and the manner in which the election was conducted from sub-branch to branch levels, the LCD official said.
“There are a host of reasons why some constituencies have not been confirmed. They range from complaints such as how the elections were handled as well as refusal by the electorate to accept candidates which they claim were imposed on them,” the official said.
Others have complained that there were delegates who were not given LCD3 forms at sub-branch level and LCD4 forms at branch level that allowed them to vote in the election, the official said.
“There’s just so much confusion in the LCD right now,” he said.
Metsing’s rival for the Mahobong constituency, natural resources ministry principal secretary, Khomoatsana Tau, last month complained that he had been ill-treated during the election.
Tau garnered just over 60 votes to Metsing’s more than 200.
Tau alleged that on November 20, at the final leg of the Mahobong primary election, Metsing set the police on him which led to his disqualification from the election.
Metsing has denied setting the police on his challenger. Tau wants the LCD to order a fresh poll in Mahobong.
It is however unclear if the executive committee had not endorsed the Mahobong’s results because of Tau’s complaints.
In Hlotse, a candidate contesting against Molise, ‘Makabelo Mosothoane, also lodged a complaint with the LCD executive committee regarding the conduct of the election.
A source from Hlotse, told this paper yesterday that Mosothoane was aggrieved that Molise had forged ahead with elections despite complaints that there had been no election at the Ha-Molibeli branch as well as Mankoaneng where she had been nominated.
“’M’e Mosothoane lodged the complaint because we were all shocked that there had been elections at constituency level despite there being none in both Mankoaneng and Ha-Molibeli branches,” the source said.
“The secretary for the Ha-Molibeli branch died last year and a new one had not been elected. As we were busy trying to find a solution, ausi (sister) Lineo pushed for elections to proceed.”
In Tsikoane, Labour Minister ’Maphoka Motoboli lodged a complaint against Matla after the LCD newspaper editor won the primary elections by a landslide in November.
She too is not happy with the election outcome.
In Mokhotlong district, results were still not available due to a stand-off among three candidates — government secretary Tlohang Sekhamane, tourism principal secretary Makalo Theko and constituency secretary Matela Tšita.
Constituencies whose results have been approved include Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Tsoelike, Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla’s Mafeteng, Forestry Minister Kabelo Mafura’s Sebapala, Agriculture Minister Ralechate ’Mokose’s Kolonyama, Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Machache, Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa’s Senqu, Public Works Minister Semano Sekatle’s Lebakeng and Local Government Minister Pontšo Sekatle’s Qacha’s Nek.