Sekhamane in bitter fight to represent LCD in Mokhotlong

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MASERU — Government secretary, Tlohang Sekhamane, is locked in a bitter fight with two ruling party cadres over who should represent the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in Mokhotlong constituency in next year’s election.
Sekhamane is battling constituency secretary Matela Tšita and tourism ministry principal secretary Makalo Theko for the right to represent the LCD in the National Assembly elections. The LCD has been rocked by infighting as candidates that are aligned to different factions jostle for the right to represent the party in the poll. The factional fights that have been simmering are now playing themselves out in the battle for constituencies. Tšita has accused Sekhamane of frustrating attempts by the Mokhotlong constituency committee to organise primary elections to choose a candidate. Sekhamane on the other hand accuses Tšita of exploiting his position in the constituency committee to advance his political interests.
Tšita told the Lesotho Times on Friday that Sekhamane was so determined to disrupt the work of the committee that he was using a group of cronies “to make our work difficult”. He said as a result the current constituency committee had failed to organise a primary election as required under party rules. Tšita says Sekhamane and his cronies have since April been pushing to ensure that a new constituency committee was not elected. The LCD embarked on the renewal of constituency committees nationwide in January, in line with the party constitution which says they should be elected annually. According to Tšita, the situation has spiralled out of control to the extent that the current constituency committee has been prevented from organising sub-branch and branch level primary elections. The final leg of the primary election, which ought to have been held on November 20 in all 80 LCD constituencies, had to be postponed in Mokhotlong, Tšita said. “This wayward behaviour started in April when two members of the LCD national executive committee, Mololi newspaper editor Khotso Matla and ordinary member Selibe Mochoboroane went to Mokhotlong to observe constituency committee elections,” Tšita said. “This group which was aligned to Ntate Sekhamane disrupted our conference in the presence of those members of the executive committee.” Tšita further alleges that Sekhamane’s associates disrupted another constituency committee conference on June 5 at Senqu Hotel. “We had to reschedule the meeting as the situation had got out of hand,” Tšita said. “A third conference was also frustrated by this disorderly gang.” Tšita said despite the challenges thrown at them by Sekhamane the constituency committee had since resolved to go ahead and organise elections at branch and sub-branch level. But Sekhamane this week rejected claims that he was attempting to sabotage the Mokhotlong constituency primary elections. He said it was Tšita himself who was to blame for the delays. “We’re vying for the same post. He will do anything in his power to see to it that I fail. He will exploit his position in the constituency committee to ensure that I don’t beat him,” Sekhamane said. According to Sekhamane, Tšita was bent on frustrating his chances of winning by denying his delegates at sub-branch level the LCD3 forms which allow them to vote at branch level.
“Out of the 14 sub-branches in the constituency, 12 of them are in support of me. But they have been denied the chance to vote for me because Tšita is aware that I’m going to win,” Sekhamane said. “He won’t give them LCD3 forms but keeps them for his favourite delegates. When he does give out the forms, he wants to do it in person so they don’t land in my people’s hands,” he said. “He wants to select his favourite people to become delegates, even those who don’t qualify. He has his own skeletal committees in constituencies.” Sekhamane added that his delegates had also become disgruntled by Tšita’s tactics. “Every time my people attend a conference, it is swiftly dismissed because they always come out in large numbers,” he said. “Today (Tuesday) another sub-branch conference was dismissed by Tšita upon realising that my people had come out in large numbers. “They moved to a new venue but my people followed them and they also abandoned the meeting. A third one was also dispersed,” Sekhamane said. Asked about the reportedly sour relations between him and Theko, Sekhamane downplayed the clashes telling this paper that although there was no beef between them “he (Theko) and Ts’ita ganged up against me”. “They did it because I am stronger than the two of them put together. They thought they could bring me down,” he said. “But now their alliance is crumbling because neither of them wants to cede power, they both want to contest the candidacy.” Theko refused to be drawn to comment on the dispute. “I am not aware of what is happening on the ground as I am in Durban on official duty and have been out of the country for a while now,” Theko said. “I don’t know of any discord between me and Ntate Sekhamane. As far as I know, there’s nothing like that,” Theko said.

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