Metsing battles congress infighting

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Limpho Sello

MAPUTSOE – Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing has moved to stem the discontent in the congress alliance over the Maputsoe constituency parliamentary candidate which has spilled over to social media.

Mr Metsing’s LCD recently forged an electoral pact with the Democratic Congress (DC) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) ahead of the 3 June 2017 poll.

Under the pact, the parties will field one candidate for each of the country’s 80 constituencies to avoid vote splitting.

The DC will contest in 54 constituencies while the LCD was allocated 25. The three parties will also vote for PFD  deputy leader, Thabang Kholumo, in his Qalo stronghold in Butha-Buthe.

However, the congress alliance has not been well received by all the parties’ supporters, with some refusing to acknowledge the candidates imposed on them.

This disaffection has been particularly evident in Maputsoe constituency which was allocated to the LCD in line with the electoral pact. While some of the DC supporters have expressed their displeasure for no longer being able to vote for their party candidate, some LCD supporters have also rejected the candidate, Matsepo Lehlokoana, even though she won the party primary election.

Ms Lehlokoana beat Mathethiwe Senekal in the LCD primary election. However, Ms Senekal’s supporters alleged irregularities in the poll and vented their fury on social media networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

Ms Senekal’s supporters also pointed to Ms Lehlokoana’s selection to the LCD’s proportional representation (PR) list as a sign of favouritism, arguing that she was not nominated for the list by the constituency.

Addressing the congress supporters during a joint rally in Maputsoe earlier this week, Mr Metsing said winning the constituency in next month’s election was in their hands if they chose to unite.

“I have to be honest with you congress supporters in Maputsoe that if we were to lose or have low voter turnout in this constituency, it would be because of you,” said the LCD leader, who is also deputy prime minister.

“I therefore appeal to you to respect the democratic process by accepting the result of the primary election. The majority of LCD supporters in this constituency voted for Mme Lehlokoana and we need to respect that.

Mr Metsing added: “Even if some of you may have valid points of contention against her, you need to accept that she was elected by the majority.

“We admit that they might have been mistakes in the primary election process, but we should bear in mind that we can never have a fully perfect process.”

He also urged Ms Lehlokoana to humble herself and work with her foes to ensure victory in the parliamentary election.

“To Mme Lehlokoana and Mme Senekale, I expect to see you working in unity in this constituency for the benefit of the congress political parties.

“We cannot afford to have supporters of Mme Lehlokoana sabotaging Mme Senekale and vice versa.”

Mr Metsing said the congress parties could ill-afford ending up as the opposition merely because of disunity.

“If we unite, we are likely to win all the constituencies in Leribe. Disunity was the reason we fared poorly in the 2012 and 2015 elections,” he said.

“I admit that we sometimes make mistakes as the leadership, but we appeal to congress supporters to look at the bigger picture so we can emerge from the election victorious.”

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