MASERU — Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Pakalitha Mosisili last weekend publicly admitted for the first time that his party is ravaged by factional fights.
Prime Minister Mosisili made the admission while addressing an emotionally charged LCD leadership conference on Saturday night at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre.
Mosisili told delegates that it was sad that their fights had torn the party apart.
“You are fighting amongst yourselves,” Mosisili said.
“Things have intensified to the extent that you have to admit even to yourselves that you are fighting.”
The ruling party is currently battling to contain an internal strife that observers say might split the 13-year-old party if not resolved.
“The hatred and divisions amongst you are so powerful that you have taken to discrediting each other in newspapers and makeshift radio stations,” Mosisili said.
The hostility has spiralled out of control and the LCD’s rivals are having a field day rejoicing in our sorrows, he added.
“Even candidate lists for our committee elections have been published in newspapers that don’t have the LCD’s best interests at heart.”
Although Mosisili did not mention names it is now common knowledge that two factions are at the centre of a fierce turf war to control the party.
Litima-Mollo (Fire Extinguishers), a faction believed to be led by secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing, is at loggerheads with the Lija-Mollo (Fire Eaters) faction which is allegedly led by Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki. Both Metsing and Moleleki have however repeatedly denied links to the factions.
To illustrate the fights Mosisili made reference to the reaction by some party youths after the recent cabinet reshuffle.
He said soon after the announcement some youth members gathered at the party headquarters claiming that they wanted to welcome “their fired ministers”.
Mosisili fired five ministers in October.
Because of the fights, Mosisili continued, his opening speech at the youth league elective conference in September had become media fodder by “being discussed and analysed in the media”.
“That speech has been subjected to ridicule on radio stations by some of you as the result of the fighting amongst you,” he said.
He said some of the party members were like parrots that mimic and act as other people’s “loud speakers”.
Some are like vultures that “rejoiced in bloodshed and death,” he said.
He likened some of the LCD members to chickens “that are popular for cowardice”.
“Some of you, like peacocks, have an immense thirst for high positions. They are not content when things do not go their way.
“However, some are like eagles. They are strong, dignified, loyal, and independent.”
The LCD’s symbol is an eagle.
Mosisili also made reference to a banner that some members had displayed at the conference.
“We have confidence in the leader and the national executive committee,” the banner read. In one corner it had a picture of a fire extinguisher which represents the Litima-Mollo faction.
It also had the eagle symbol and an LCD flag.
“If you do not know who you are, you will end up making a spectacle of yourself by holding up a white flag, calling yourself a fire extinguisher (seja mollo),” Mosisili said.
“But let me have you know that in the LCD, we have neither fire extinguishers nor do we have… what do some of you call yourselves? I mean fire eaters (lija mollo).”
Mosisili said some of the fights seemed to be targeted at him as the party leader.
“It seems I have ceased to be of importance in the eyes of some of you. I come across as weak, stupid and lacking in leadership qualities befitting of the LCD leader.
“I am also said to have overstayed my welcome in the leadership position. I did not know what to say to you. I then asked God to give me the wisdom to say that which will touch your hearts and help you change your ways,” he said.