Former Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) deputy secretary general, Matšeliso Tuoane, says she decided to resign from the party because of pressure from her supporters.
Ms Tuoane told the Lesotho Times that she had been under pressure from her Senqu Constituency supporters since she left the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in 2014 to join the newly-formed RCL.
The supporters, she added, had wanted her to join the All Basotho Convention (ABC), which she eventually did at the weekend. She was one of 160 people who joined the ABC in Senqu Constituency on Saturday. Ms Tuoane failed to win the Senqu Constituency in the February 2015 parliamentary elections under an RCL ticket.
“I became an LCD MP in 2012 (through proportional representation) because of the people of Senqu Constituency, but I never consulted them when I decided to leave the party in 2014 for the RCL. They immediately approached me when they realised that I had joined the RCL and made it clear they were not happy about my decision because they wanted me to join the ABC,” Ms Tuoane said this week.
“I pleaded with them to give the RCL a chance but they still persisted, saying I had made a mistake because Congress parties are not reliable. The supporters said they had voted for Congress parties for a long time but their lives were not improving at all.”
Ms Tuoane further said the supporters complained that unlike other constituencies with well-maintained roads, water, electricity and healthcare services, Senqu did not enjoy such amenities.
“They put me under a lot of pressure, reminding me all the time that it was time for us to cross over to the ABC and leave Congress parties,” Ms Tuoane said.
However, Ms Tuoane said leaving the RCL had been a hard decision for her.
“It was not easy for me to leave the RCL but since I respect my supporters and their decisions, I had to comply and take their advice,” she said.
Asked if she informed the RCL National Executive Committee (NEC) about her decision to quit the party, Ms Tuoane said she did not.
“The reason for not telling the NEC about it was because I believed they were not going to let me go just like. I am a Mosotho woman who knows that in our culture, when a girl decides to elope for marriage (ho shobela), she does not tell her parents. However, I believe the ABC will send a messenger to inform the RCL leadership that I have joined their party, together with people who supported me while I was still with the RCL,” Ms Tuoane added.
RCL secretary general ‘Mamolula Ntabe confirmed Ms Tuoane did not inform the party’s NEC, of which she was a member, about her decision to join the ABC.
“The RCL is a democratic party and allows every member freedom of association. But I can’t confirm that Ms Tuoane left with all the people who voted for the RCL in Senqu because they have not said so,” Ms Ntabe said.