MASERU — Opposition party leaders say they are shocked that the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)’s secretary general, Mothetjoa Metsing, chickened out of their deal to nominate him as Lesotho’s premier at the eleventh hour.
The opposition leaders wanted to pass a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili today and replace him with Metsing.
The plot however collapsed yesterday afternoon when Metsing rejected the nomination saying the people behind the motion had not consulted him before suggesting him as Mosisili’s replacement.
Metsing wrote to National Assembly speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai asking that his name be withdrawn from the motion.
But opposition leaders who spoke to this paper last night said they were shocked by Metsing’s U-turn which they admit has embarrassed them.
All Basotho Convention leader Thomas Thabane, Lesotho Peoples’ Congress’s Kelebone Maope, Basotho National Party’s Thesele ‘Maseribane, Lesotho Workers’ Party’s Sello Maphalla and Popular Front for Democracy’s Thabang Kholumo told the Lesotho Times that they were appalled by Metsing’s decision to dump them.
Thabane said Metsing had been consulted before his name was suggested.
“The fact of the matter is that we had consulted with Metsing. He knew of our intention. We asked him to be our candidate and he agreed,” Thabane said.
“Even when I went to bed last night, I was still convinced that Metsing was our man.”
Thabane said the least Metsing could have done would have been to inform them that he was no longer willing to be their candidate.
He said he was shocked when Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla announced that Metsing had said he did not want to be associated with the motion.
“Instead of having Lehohla pull out the motion from the National Assembly, Metsing should have at least given us the chance to pull it on our own,” Thabane said.
Thabane also lashed out at Lehohla for using shaky grounds to justify why the motion should be abandoned.
“Lehohla was wrong; I feel he has let me down. But I will find another peaceful political solution to remove Mosisili. The matter is not lost yet,” Thabane said.
“Metsing was our shining star in the LCD. But now that our shining star is not available, we’ll have to find other means.”
Without divulging much, Maphalla said he was still to ascertain why Metsing “wrote such a letter”.
“I am yet to find out from him how the letter came about. But what I can tell you for sure is that I wouldn’t take such a bold but uninformed step so publicly,” Maphalla said.
“I always make informed decisions. Being part of the motion was an informed decision.”
Maope added that Metsing seemed to agree with his nomination as the successive premier of the country and never gave any indication that he would decline at any given time.
“Even when we arrived in parliament yesterday for the press conference, we’d been to see him. He never gave the impression that he’d pull out,” Maope said.
“Maybe we should have consulted with him further before going public with our decision. The fact remains that he’s a man of integrity.”
The fact that Metsing was still young and politically inexperienced, Maope said, could have led to him feeling overwhelmed.
‘Maseribane added that consultations were made in a broad manner with Metsing.
“I don’t know what he means when he says he was not consulted. Why is it that he did lodge his objection to the motion on the same day?” ‘Maseribane charged.
Kholumo also told this paper, visibly disillusioned, that Metsing’s intentions might have been misinterpreted by those who “represented him in our meetings”.
“We wanted to take advantage of the split in the LCD and drive further the wedge between Mosisili and Metsing because we know that they don’t get along at all,” Kholumo said.
“We had no doubt then that Metsing would agree with us and jump on the bandwagon”.