THE Democratic Congress (DC) and two other parties have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, informing him of their intention to form a coalition of opposition parties in parliament.
DC Secretary-General, Semano Sekatle, told the Lesotho Times that the coalition was aimed at ensuring the opposition had “good numbers” and operated as a “united front in whatever we deliberate on as you know that parliamentary decisions are all about numbers”.
“United we stand and divided we fall. Being in opposition is more fulfilling than being in government as we have the freedom to express ourselves better than when we are in government.
“We have nothing to lose in parliament but we can better formulate and present our views,” Mr Sekatle said.
However, the Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) is not part of the mooted coalition which comprises of the DC, Popular Front of Democracy (PFD) and National Independent Party (NIP).
“With this letter we would like you to know that we the three parties, DC, PFD and NIP have agreed to form a coalition of opposition parties in the 10th parliament, with the MP for Qhoali No. 68, Mathibeli Mokhothu being the official leader, the chairperson of the caucus being Motlalentoa Letsosa MP for Qalabane No. 54 and the Secretary of the caucus being, Likeleli Tampane, who is MP for Senqu No. 78,” reads part of the letter to Mr Motanyane.
The letter is signed by the leaders of the three parties, namely, Pakalitha Mosisili (DC), Lekhetho Rakuoane (PFD) and Kimetso Mathaba (NIP).
For his part, National Assembly Speaker, Mr Motanyane said he was yet to respond to the letter as “there is a lot of research that I have to conduct before I come to this august House and give you my decision”.
Meanwhile, the LCD said although it maintained cordial relations with its erstwhile government partners, it had opted against joining the mooted coalition to keep its position in the state council.
LCD spokesperson, Teboho Sekata yesterday told the Lesotho Times that “we opted to keep our position as LCD as this would help us have representation in the state council”.
“We would lose our sitting power to the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) if we tied ourselves to the coalition. It is just the way we chose to operate but we are still part of the opposition,” he said.
DC spokesperson, Serialong Qoo, said they had approached LCD over the coalition plans but the latter were “not ready” to join them.
“We still have a warm working relationship with the LCD.
“It’s just that they have benefits that they get by virtue of being second in opposition numbers in parliament and they were just not ready to forfeit them by being part of the coalition. Our relations are however, still very intact,” Mr Qoo said.
The exclusion of the LCD was been a talking point, given the fact that it was the second most prominent party after the DC in the former seven parties’ coalition government from 2015 to 2017 and its leader, Mothetjoa Metsing served as Deputy Prime Minister.
The two parties also joined with the PFD in an electoral pact ahead of the 3 June 2017 elections.
Under their electoral pact, the DC, LCD and PFD fielded one candidate for each of the country’s 80 constituencies with the stated goal of avoiding vote splitting.
The DC contested in 54 constituencies, the LCD was allocated 25, while the PFD was given one seat.
The DC obtained 30 seats, the LCD garnered 11 seats in the polls, while the PFD had three.
They lost power after the All Basotho Convention combined its 48 seats with those of the Alliance of Democrats (nine seats), the Basotho National Party (five) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (one) to form a four party coalition government in the aftermath of the polls.
Such has been the strength of the DC-LCD alliance that there were even rumours of a merger before the June polls.
After the polls, the DC even mulled having LCD leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, defect to the party to ensure it had the requisite 30 seats to retain its position as the official opposition in the National Assembly.
In the absence of the LCD, the DC would combine its 30 seats, with those of the PFD (two) and NIP (one) to give the mooted coalition a combined total of 33.