Coalition youths split

Coalition youths split

Rapelang Mosae

 MASERU

 

A nasty rift has emerged among youth leaders of parties in the coalition government over a planned protest against United States Ambassador Matthew Harrington.

Youth leaders of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) have been pushing for Harrington’s ouster on allegations that he is meddling in Lesotho’s internal affairs.

They are also alleged to be the masterminds behind a protest mooted against the ambassador.

The LPC’s Bokang Ramatšella has been at the forefront of the offensive against Harrington, calling for his removal.

He has repeatedly called him a terrorist and threatened to use other means to make sure he leaves this country “for good”.

The LCD’s spokesman Teboho Sekata is said to be part of the planned march to push for Harrington’s removal.

But on Tuesday the DC Youth League said the party “will not be part of that senseless march”.

“The Democratic Congress will not be part of the purported march in protest of Matthew Harrington’s stay in office as the American Ambassador to Lesotho,” said DC Youth League leader Thuso Litjobo at a press conference.

Litjobo said the DC Youth League had information that the LCD and LPC were planning the protest against Harrington, with a view to have him removed as the Ambassador to Lesotho.

Litjobo complained that the LPC and LDC are giving a misleading impression that all seven parties in the coalition government had agreed to march against Harrington.

He also complained that the two parties are touting DC members who are working at the factories to join their protest against Harrington.

Litjobo said he knew that the “DC is not part of the purported demonstration and it will not be partaking in it”.

Litjobo is a member of the DC national executive committee by virtue of being the youth league leader and he attends and votes at the committee meetings.

“DC Youth League and DC as a whole know the proper means and procedures that can be followed in order for an ambassador to be removed from office,” he said.

He gave an example of a Libyan Ambassador to Lesotho who had to leave the country because the government felt his conduct was contrary to the mandate of his office.

Litjobo said diplomatic procedures were followed to have that ambassador removed hence relations between Lesotho and Libya were preserved.

Asked what the stance of the DC youth league was on Harrington, Litjobo said they had not formed any negative view against the ambassador.

However if in future they find reasons to hold a negative view about him then diplomatic means would be followed to have him removed, he said.

DC Youth League secretary Letuka Chafotsa said the planned demonstration is likely to damage relations between Lesotho and the United States.

Chafotsa further said if Harrington was to be dismissed in such an unceremonious manner then the same fate would befall the representatives of Lesotho in Washington DC and New York.

Chafotsa said the DC Youth League is aware that Lesotho has lost the United Kingdom and Ireland embassies which have moved their embassies to South Africa.

He said this is a very serious issue, adding that if Lesotho should deal with ambassadors in the manner suggested by Ramatšella and his allies, it will lose more embassies.

Lesotho will be isolated from the international community, he said.

thuso litjoboLitjobo noted that DC leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has said the DC will not engage in demonstrations or boycotts.

Those behind the march have also said they plan to use it to show support for Mosisili.

But Litjobo said “the Prime Minister is the leader of the DC and will not be associated with such a disgraceful activity”.

 

The DC secretary general Ralechate ’Mokose declined to comment on whether the national executive committee agreed with the youth league.

Ramatšella vehemently denied that the LPC and the LCD are the ones calling for the protest march. He said him and Sekata are part of supporters of the coalition government who want to “boycott Harrington”.

“This march is also meant to show our unwavering support to Prime Minister Mosisili and the government he is heading because this is the government we have elected and it is under threat from these nationalist parties and whites like Harrington of the United States of America,” Ramatšella said.

“I wonder why these people whom I know that they are part of this government and the parties that formed it are fuming over our idea to show our support to the government,” he said.

“Which government are they supporting when they cry like this at the news that we support this government of ours and theirs?”

The Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), National Independent Party (NIP), and the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) have not declared their stance on Harrington.

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