MASERU — Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing threw the embattled party into further chaos when he allegedly snubbed two party caucus meetings last week.
Sources within the LCD told the Lesotho Times this week that although the meetings were routine and discussed various party issues, MPs expected Metsing to brief them about his involvement in last week’s failed putsch against Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
An MP who spoke on condition of anonymity said the first meeting was convened at short notice after the afternoon sitting of the National Assembly last Thursday.
According to the MP, the meeting was attended by all LCD MPs save for Metsing, deputy secretary general Lebohang Ntšinyi and National Executive Committee member and Taung MP, Keketso Rantšo.
Party leader Mosisili, his deputy Lesao Lehohla, national executive committee chairman Thabang Pheko, deputy chairman Mohlabi Tsekoa and other members of the NEC attended the meeting.
MPs holding proportional representation seats in the National Assembly were also in attendance.
This paper understands that it had been agreed by all LCD MPs that Metsing should be called to brief the party on his role in the failed opposition motion to unseat Mosisili.
However, the meeting was called off after MPs realised that Metsing would not be attending.
Metsing leads a faction of the LCD that is in control of the NEC while Mosisili is said to have a soft spot for a rival faction headed by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.
Both factions have been wrestling to seize control of the ruling party for the past two years.
Matters however came to a head last month after a special conference that had been ordered by the Court of Appeal was cancelled following clashes over the nomination of delegates.
Metsing and two others ministers were then summarily dismissed from government.
But the decision appeared to galvanise the Metsing faction with opposition leaders announcing last Tuesday plans to pass a no-confidence vote in Mosisili.
In their motion, the opposition leaders also nominated Metsing as their preferred candidate for the premiership should Mosisili be ousted.
The motion however collapsed when Metsing wrote a letter to National Assembly Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai, distancing himself from the opposition plan and requesting that his name be “withdrawn or cancelled from the motion”.
Sources said Mosisili was livid after Metsing failed to turn up for the meeting.
The MP said Mosisili was due to travel to Qacha’s Nek for a funeral.
“The leader was particularly angry that he had been called to attend a failed meeting when he had urgent family business to attend to in Qacha’s Nek. He was not amused,” the MP said.
Pheko and other MPs from the pro-Metsing faction also seemed disappointed by Metsing’s absence and even voiced their concerns.
“When Metsing and party failed to attend the meeting, MPs aligned to his faction became angry, saying he was wasting their time,” the MP said.
It was then decided that the meeting should be postponed to Monday this week, the source said.
Metsing also did not attend this meeting.
“Formal requests were made, this time in advance in the hope that all MPs would have had enough time to prepare for the meeting,” the MP said.
But even then, the source added, Metsing did not bother to attend the Monday meeting.
“This time around it was even worse because all the other members of the NEC, including those who were in attendance at the first meeting, did not show up,” the source said.
“It was frustrating to the leader (Mosisili) and most MPs were questioning why he did not exercise his constitutional powers to suspend or expel Metsing from the party.”
Efforts to contact Metsing for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.
However, the source noted that it would not be easy for Mosisili to suspend all the members of the LCD NEC at once even if the constitution catered for it because of the limited time.
“If he suspends them, they might contest their suspension in court and we have already seen that court cases can drag on for months,” the source said.
When contacted for comment on Tuesday, Pheko told this paper that “I never discuss caucus meetings”.
“Some things I cannot talk about. I could never discuss caucus meetings with you. I wonder what got into the person who has been discussing these things with you,” Pheko said.
Lehohla however confirmed that Metsing missed two routine caucus meetings but noted that “you got the agenda wrong”.
“He was expected to be part of the meetings but on both occasions he did not attend,” Lehohla said.
Lehohla added that although the agenda of the meetings was not for Metsing to brief the party about the opposition’s no-confidence motion, some party officials would expect him to.
“Yes, some of the people in the meetings would have wished for Metsing to put the party in the light regarding the no-confidence vote motion, but that wasn’t the core agenda of the meeting,” Lehohla said.