LCD feud deepens

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Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

A FRANTIC bid by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy’s (LCD) elders committee to end a fierce feud pitting party Secretary-General Selibe Mochoboroane and deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi hit a snag after the divisions proved “too deep” to be resolved in one sitting.

This was after the LCD elders committee last week Wednesday hauled Mr Mochoboroane and Mr Mokhosi to a closed-door hearing set up to establish the root causes of the escalating feud at the party headquarters in Maseru.

The elders convened the hearing due to fears the wrangle between the influential duo would result in a split in the governing seven-party coalition’s second largest member.

With the coalition’s stability shaken to its core after the major partner, Democratic Congress (DC), split earlier this month, the elders committee was determined to nip the ructions in the bud. Another split in the LCD would all but collapse the government barely two years after assuming power after the 28 February snap elections.

The DC split following a protracted internecine turf war between party leader and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his former deputy Monyane Moleleki.

While the DC faction led by Dr Mosisili managed to retain control of the party through a High Court ruling, Mr Moleleki earlier this month jumped ship and formed a party called Alliance of Democrats (AD) along with the bulk of the youth and women’s leagues.

Chaired by former deputy prime minister, Lesao Lehohla, the committee was expected to compile its findings and recommendations and submit the report before the LCD’s National Executive Committee (NEC) soon after the hearing for further action.

But privy sources, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, yesterday told the Lesotho Times the elders committee was “overwhelmed” by the extend of the acrimony between Messrs Mochoboroane and Mokhosi.

Mr Mochoboroane, who is also Small Business Development minister, has been linked with the Ma-Israele (Israelites) faction and given the moniker “Moses” by his supporters who say he can take the LCD to a figurative “promised land”.

There has also been fevered speculation Mr Mochoboroane’s Ma-Israele faction would form a new party after the LCD’s former spokesperson and musician, Mahlomola Makhube, resigned last week.

Apart from Mr Makhube, Trade Minister Joshua Setipa as well as the LCD’s losing candidate for the Qoaling constituency during the 2015 general elections, Makhetha Thaele, have been linked with the Ma-Israele faction.

The other faction, Ma-Egepeta (Egyptians), is aligned to party leader Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing who has also been labelled “Pharaoh” for alleged authoritarianism and refusing to relinquish power.

Mr Mokhosi, who has been linked with the Ma-Egepeta faction, has personally clashed with Mr Mochoboroane, the sources said.

Mr Mochoboroane, who was earlier this year reshuffled from the influential Energy ministry, has been accused of trying to take away the limelight from Mr Metsing.

The reshuffle, sources said, was part of a strategy to “contain” the charismatic and energetic minister who has also hit the ground running in his new portfolio.

However, the sources told this paper the animosity between the two went beyond the issues that were already in the public domain.

“The elders committee indeed met and tried to preside over the matter by hearing both sides of the story.

“But the situation really went out of control when both sides started revealing issues the elders didn’t know. It was an exchange of shocking revelations between Ntate Mochoboroane and Ntate Mokhosi before the elders.”

Given that some of the issues were of a personal nature, the sources said, the elders committee resolved they were “too deep” to tackle in one sitting.

“The meeting was adjourned indefinitely and it is uncertain when the committee will deliberate over the matter.”

For his part, Mr Lehohla yesterday told the Lesotho Times the elders committee would likely meet before the end of 2016 to agree on the date of the hearing.

“We will probably meet before year’s end just to set up the dates for a meeting to deal with the matter to its finality.”

Mr Lehohla would, however, not be drawn to elaborate on the details of the hearing.

“I will not reveal any details lest we cause more damage. All I can say is there are issues that need to be addressed urgently. We are committed to resolving them so that our party is stable and at peace. We cannot afford to leave the party in a weakened state,” he said.

“It is imperative for party members to be patient with each other and to unite during difficult times. Hopefully, soon after the Christmas holiday we will be able to work on the issues to finality and reach a lasting solution.”

Meanwhile, LCD spokesperson Teboho Sekata has steadfastly dismissed assertions the party was heading for a split saying it was the work of the party’s detractors.

Mr Sekata has insisted the feud was between Mr Mochoboroane and Mr Mokhosi and “not the party as a whole”.

Efforts to contact both Messrs Mochoboroane and Mokhosi were fruitless at the time of going to print.

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