Chaos rocks RCL special conference

Chaos rocks RCL special conference

MASERU – A special conference called by the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) in Mafeteng descended into a farce last weekend when the two warring factions almost exchanged blows.
The conference, which was held under heavy police guard, was called to elect a new party secretary general.
Matters came to a head when ousted party leader, Keketso Rantšo, stormed the conference hall.

RCL deputy secretary general Retšelisitsoe Lesane said when Rantšo arrived under army guard, the conference had to start in line with a High Court order granted last Friday.
He said the order which was granted by Justice Semapo Peete said party chairman, Poeea Letsielo, would chair the conference.
The court also ordered the Mafeteng District Commanding Officer to provide security for the conference.

The RCL National Executive Committee was also granted powers to administer the conference.
When she arrived, Rantšo demanded to know the whereabouts of her personal aide, Nthakho Monare.
Lesane said the police ordered the delegates to go out of the hall so that it would be clear which constituencies were being represented.
He said Rantšo forced her way into the conference with scores of her supporters using a back door.

By the time they got in, Lesane said they found Letsielo chairing the conference.
“They wanted to push out Letsielo from chairing the conference,” he said.
“In revenge, we did not want the madness to take place.”
Lesane said it was at that time that Monare said the conference would not proceed if their leader was not in charge.

“I went to the chairman who was holding a mike and took away the mike from him. I also pushed the tables and removed the cloths on the tables,” she said.
She said they worked hard for her boss to see that the conference was a success.

Monare said the police pushed them out of the hall but the other faction refused to budge.
“We went out to elect the secretary general. And that secretary general is me,” she said.
Rantšo was holding a fighting stick (Lebetlela) in her hand and broke into the party’s songs, Lesane said.

She was blocked from taking the stage to deliver a speech by the other faction.
“We wondered in what capacity she was (delivering) a speech because we pushed her from the party’s leadership,” Lesane said.
From there, the conference descended into total chaos, with the police who were armed with rifles and pistols ensuring matters did not degenerate into full-scale violence.
Lesane insisted they were in possession of a court order that showed that Rantšo was not supposed to chair the conference.

The conference descended into pandemonium that saw members against Rantšo tearing T- shirts emblazoned with her name and image.
“There was an exchange of derogatory songs and words from both parties there,” Lesane said.
He said he was also personally attacked by the other faction.
He said the police pushed them out of the hall when the tension intensified.
Lesane said they were expecting at least their deputy leader Dr Motloheloa Phooko to deliver a speech and not Rantšo.
He said Dr Phooko is the one holding forte after Rantšo was ousted.
“We can’t allow a person that we have fired from the party’s leadership to administer the conference,” he said.

Following the scuffle, one activist who is in Rantšo’s camp, Mpho Mokatja, 37, was picked up by the police accused of assault.
He appeared before the Mafeteng Local Court on Monday and appeared again for the second time on Tuesday.
He is due to appear again in court on November 5.
Several efforts to get comment from Rantšo failed as her phone rang unanswered.

Majara Molupe


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