MASERU — Michael Molefe, the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) MP for the ‘Maliepetsane constituency, has thrown his hat into the ring, declaring his intention to fiercely contest the coveted post of deputy leader at the party’s weekend elective indaba.
Among the five All Basotho Convention members eyeing the post to deputise party leader Thomas Thabane, Molefe is the only one who does not hold a post in government.
His main contenders are the Ministry of Development Planning PS Lerotholi Pheko, Mining Minister Tlali Khasu, Social Development Minister ‘Matebatso Doti and Justice Minister Mophato Monyake.
He, however, is confident that his track record as an active party member and philanthropist will give him competitive advantage over his opponents.
Lesotho Times Political Editor Bongiwe Zihlangu this week spoke to Molefe.
Sekhonyana Mosenene, a member of a camp pushing for Molefe’s endorsement as ABC deputy leader, said the prominent businessman who from time feeds the poor and buries the dead, was encouraged to start preparing himself to contest the deputy leadership post shortly after the former Development Planning Minister and ABC deputy leader, Moletsane Maboee, died in November 2012.
The Lesotho Times understands that Molefe has support mainly from constituencies in the southern, northern and some parts of the central regions of the country including Lebakeng, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng, Maseru, Berea, Leribe, Butha- Buthe and Mokhotlong.
Speaking to this paper on Tuesday, Molefe said his vast contribution to the growth of the ABC dates back to the establishment of the party in October 2006.
“I’m one of the people who have contributed immensely to the growth of the ABC, sustaining the party even through difficult times, literally keeping the boat afloat,” Molefe said.
“I’m a die-hard supporter of the ABC who won with the highest number one of the constituencies with a difficult terrain and no roads.”
Molefe’s ‘Maliepetsane constituency also boasts more than 20 ABC local government councillors, which is quite a feat for a party that was only in opposition until the May 2012 general poll.
Molefe said he believed that being elected the ruling party’s deputy leader would mean that ABC leader Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, whose position is not being contested, “will have a reliable man by his side”.
Molefe said he joined the race for the deputy leadership post after he was endorsed by constituencies from the southern, northern and central regions of the countries.
“The request that I contest for this post came a long time ago, shortly after the passing of former deputy leader Maboee Moletsane,” Molefe said.
Molefe’s track record as a generous philanthropist and visionary also speaks for itself.
Last year Molefe donated two horses to Matelile Police Station in Mafeteng in pursuit of crime eradication in the region.
In addition, Molefe also contributed to the Matelile police station coffers for the installation of electricity to enable the police to work round the clock.
“The result was a pleasant Christmas period and an uneventful New Year, with no reported heinous crimes in a region notorious for famo music wars,” Molefe said.
So astounding was the success of the Matelile police working in conjunction with community policing forums from Ha Sekhaupane that February 19 has been marked for an award giving ceremony to those who “dedicated their lives and time to fight crime”, Molefe added.
Molefe said in addition to his humanitarian efforts, since becoming MP of the ruling party, he has ensured the construction of a road to Ha-Jobo, a previously inaccessible area within his constituency.
“We also now have four health clinics namely; Sebelekoane, Ha Makhakhe, Malealea and Ribaneng,” Molefe said.
“We’re currently working towards the installation of electricity, construction of roads and infrastructure for proper sanitation.”
Molefe is a former commerce teacher and founder of Lesotho’s first diamond cutting school, the Lesotho Diamond Academy which offers internationally accredited certificates by virtue of being an affiliate of the world renowned Oppenheimer Training School of Diamonds.
“I am the first Mosotho to establish a diamond school equipping Basotho youth with unique skills,” Molefe said.
“I’ve been playing an active role in the planning of job creation in pursuit of poverty reduction and ensuring that Basotho benefit from the country’s wealth of natural resources.”
The highlight of his career, Molefe said, was when he travelled to Brussels with Speaker of the National Assembly Sephiri Motanyane for a “Renewable Energy, Extraction of Minerals and Impact on People” seminar where he was appointed chairman.
“Yeah, that was the highlight of my career,” an excited Molefe said.
Molefe also believes that his administrative skills and experience give him advantage over candidates.
“I’ve experience in administration and I’ve never failed before as I’m capable of managing people from walks of life. I’m a really down to earth character,” Molefe said.
“I’m also very generous and fond of people, always taking time out to help bury the dead, feed the poor and sick”.
Another highly contested post is that of secretary general for which Samonyane Ntsekele, Futho Hoohlo, Samuel Rapapa and Mants’iuoa Mosothoane are expected to lock horns.
However, Ntsekele’s prospects of contesting could be threatened if his opponents argue, as they are expected to, that his nomination is invalid because he has never been in any party structures in contravention with the ABC constitution.
The ABC executive committee was supposed to meet yesterday to screen candidates and determine those whose credentials qualify them for the contest.