MASERU — Basotho National Party (BNP) presidential aspirant Majara Molapo is demanding fresh elections as a precondition for engaging in talks with a party rival whom he alleges was irregularly elected leader last month.
High Court Judge Ts’eliso Monaphathi on Monday postponed to May 9 a case in which Molapo is challenging the legitimacy of newly elected BNP President Thesele ‘Maseribane “to pave way for negotiations”.
Both Molapo and the BNP consented to the postponement.
Justice Monaphathi sternly warned the warring parties to treat the negotiations seriously, describing the feud as being of national importance.
Molapo’s condition could mean a stillbirth for the dialogue proposed by the court after Matete indicated that his executive would not budge to demands of a fresh vote.
“It is imperative for the BNP to hold new elections. There’s now this dark cloud hovering over us regarding the legitimacy of constituency committees which took part in the elections,” Molapo said.
‘Maseribane and party secretary-general Ranthomeng Matete should not be involved in the preparations for the fresh elections, he said.
“There should be fresh elections whereby Thesele and Matete will still contest (for the presidency) but in an environment whereby there are legitimate committees with the right to vote in the conference.”
Molapo took the BNP to court on Friday 25 March in an attempt to bar the party from holding its elective conference on March 26.
Molapo argued that preparations for the elections were marred by corrupt practices resulting in illegitimate constituency committees voting for leaders.
Some constituencies were recorded as having voted yet were not represented at the conference, Malapo argues in his challenge.
“Although I will not reveal their identities now, the constituencies have informed me that they were counted amongst participants even though they were not part of the election,” Molapo alleged.
He has vowed to press ahead with the court challenge if the talks fail.
Matete, however, was adamant that the current committee would remain in place.
The BNP, he said, would continue working with ‘Maseribane and implement the resolutions made at the disputed conference.
“Until stated otherwise, it is business as usual in the BNP. We will continue to work with our leader based on the resolutions made by the same conference that elected him,” Matete said.
Matete said the BNP executive committee was still waiting for Molapo to elaborate on the grounds for the negotiations to allow for talks to resume.
He said the party had waited for Molapo to furnish such details at an April12 executive committee meeting “but nothing turned up”.
“Currently it is difficult to pronounce our stance because he has not furnished us with details of what he wants. When people enter into talks there has to be a clear agenda,” Matete said.
“That’s why we want him to elaborate explicitly on what he alleges happened in each constituency by way of writing.”