MASERU – Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki’s political ambitions took a big dent last week when he lost the editorship of the ruling party’s newspaper.
Moleleki was seeking to retain his post as editor of Mololi, an influential newspaper for the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party.
Moleleki lost the post to Dr Motloheloa Phooko who collected 1 068 votes. Moleleki could only garner 632 votes.
Phooko, who is a minister in the prime minister’s office, is a medical doctor by profession while Moleleki is a journalist.
The embarrassing loss for Moleleki, seen as a potential successor to Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, could sink Moleleki’s political ambitions for good.
Political observers in Lesotho say Moleleki was leading a faction of the ruling party with ambitions to take over the leadership of the ruling party.
In an interview last April Moleleki denied that he was leading any faction and that he was seeking higher office.
But all the candidates that were said to be pro-Moleleki lost the weekend elections to a faction believed to belong to former general secretary Mpho Malie.
Malie last week also denied that he was leading any faction saying there were no factions within the LCD but mere differences of opinion.
Mothetjoa Metsing, the current communications minister, was elected to the powerful post of general secretary of the LCD.
Metsing beat Ralechate ‘Mokose, who is the forestry and land reclamation minister by 999 to 773 votes.
Political observers say the election of Metsing could boost the communications minister’s chances of eventually taking over the leadership of the party.
Metsing replaces Malie who did not seek re-election.
Malie said last week that he was stepping down from his post to give the young generation a chance.
Tourism Minister Lebohang Ntsínyi pipped local government minister Pontsó Sekatle to the deputy general secretary’s position.
Ntsínyi won 890 votes against Sekatle’s 887 votes.
Trade Minister Popane Lebesa was elected to the powerful post of party treasurer. Lebesa garnered 1 029 votes against Moeketsi Sello’s 760 votes.
Assistant Minister for Trade Khotso Matla was elected the party’s secretary for publicity. Matla beat Hlonepho Ntsékhe by 815 to 540 votes.
Ntsékhe is currently the Member of Parliament (MP) for Thaba-phatsóa constituency.
The newly elected national executive committee will be in office for the next three years.
Mosisili’s term will however run for five years. His position and that of his deputy, Lesao Lehohla, were not contested at the conference.