Maseru, Apr.02 — Leader of Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) Mr. Mothejoa Metsing says he needed the elective conference and believes that it will bring healing within the party and wounds it had during the long journey to date.
This he said in an official address to the delegates on Saturday, the second day of the party’s elective conference held at Methodist High School in Berea district.
He said that as National Executive Committee (NEC) it is their responsibility to carry on the work but when there are difficulties they have to return to the masses to give new assignments and advise them hence he needed the conference.
He said that this conference is pursuant to the party’s constitution section 5 (1a) which stipulates that the elective conference will be in every three years in December or January but through the amendment it is supposed to be end of March because membership registration closes in January.
He said that the conference was supposed to have been in November as the outgoing committee was elected in November 2019 but due to his absence in the country together with the deputy leader, the conference could not be called in November. Since the constitution stipulates that it has to be in March, “we are here today for the conference”.
“Indeed we have had a long journey as the party, we have scars of many painful things that have gone through as the party and we are tired. The party and the leader have been attacked from as far back as 2014 but escalated after the 2017 elections and they have turned to be our daily life,” he said.
He explained that his return from exile came from the agreement between government, opposition and SADC but said that the former did not respect the agreement and failed to defend and protect the agreement.
Mr. Metsing said however that the current government is only inheriting issues from the previous government and the current government will address the matter differently.
He highlighted that he is being charged of treason which is sentencing includes death sentence, and such happened here in 1994 but those convicted SADC requested amnesty for them and they were pardoned. He however said when it comes to him, laws in Lesotho are different saying it is through the mercy of God that he would be freed.
He said that what happened in the country’s general elections was God’s intervention as the big and old parties being LCD and ABC lost saying that it is up to the PM and his partners to understand the responsibility that God has granted unto him, hope that he will realise that divine.
He blamed the loss of their party in the 2022 elections to him being in exile saying that they did not have much time to campaign citing that they had only a month while other parties had two months given by law and other months prior to dissolution of parliament.
He added that it was difficult even to feed campaign teams but through the support of other members who sacrificed their pension money to ensure that the party went for elections. The least performing parties in the past elections are ABC and LCD losing gaining three seats from 11 in 2017.
“We were not even elected by our party agents. This was the worst election performance ever in the existence of LCD,” he stressed.
Moreover, Mr. Metsing stated that this conference will bring a decision on the way forward for the party instead of pointing fingers at one another saying that they have to focus on restructuring and renewal of the party which he said should start with research by experts in politics and elections.
On the other hand, he said that the incoming committee should ensure that the site for the party is developed so that it brings revenue for the party, saying such work should start before the end of the year.
He noted that after elections they came into agreement with the Revolution For Prosperity (RPF) thus being the friend of the coalition saying through this agreement LCD gained a seat in Senate adding that it also agreed that they will continue looking where they can place LCD in the public service.
“We also agreed on confidence and supply thus we support RFP whenever there is motion of no confidence in Parliament while on supply we will support the government when money is being allocated. This we did because we realized that RFP is doing things differently,” he emphasized.
He assured the conference that if they do thorough research, LCD could return to its old self as they still have plenty of time before the next general elections.
Furthermore he mentioned that he decided to suspend the secretary General Mr. Teboho Sekata on March 22 through the power invested in him by section 12.4 of the constitution saying that he did this following Mr. Sekata’s misbehaviour and disrespecting of the constitution.
Among others he said that against the LCD Parliamentary caucus Mr. Sekata submitted his name for nomination for Public Accounts Committee (PAC) instead of the Deputy Leader Ts’eliso Mokhosi as was requested.
He said that PAC Chairmanship is given to opposition saying that he is surprised that in the 11th Parliament such a seat is given to leader of HOPE Mrs. ‘Machabana Lemphane- Letsie yet she is a friend of the government.
Again he indicated that Mr. Sekata on different radio stations said that the party supported the M5, 000 petrol allowances for Members of Parliament yet he (Metsing) was adamantly opposing the petrol allowances.
He urged the delegates to carry out elections without fights for the growth of the party.
Meanwhile Sekata was present at the conference but only as a member of ‘Maletsunyane constituency who is contesting the position of Deputy Leader against the current Deputy Mokhosi.
There are two factions within the party namely Litipi siding with Sekata while Makhabunyane are with Metsing and his Deputy Ts’eliso Mokhosi. This is not the first time that LCD has two factions as in 2012 they had Lijamollo and Litimamollo which led to the formation of Democratic Congress (DC).
In 1997, then Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle left the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) to form with his faction the new Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD). The new party won the 1998 elections with 60.7% of the popular vote and 79 out of 80 seats. Dr. Pakalitha Mosisili became the new party leader and prime minister. At the elections for the National Assembly, May 25, 2002, the party won 54.9% of popular votes and 77 out of 120 seats. In the February 17, 2007 parliamentary election, the party won 62 out of 120 seats.
Major splits from the party occurred in October 2001, when leading LCD members Kelebone Maope and Shakhane Mokhehle left the party to form the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) and in October 2006, when Tom Thabane left the party to form the All Basotho Convention (ABC). Prior to the Lesotho general election, in 2012 the party split again with incumbent Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili forming the Democratic Congress (DC) and the then General Secretary Mothetjoa Metsing taking over the party leadership.
The elections process started late at night on Saturday and results will be announced later on Sunday.