DC showdown looms

DC showdown looms

Staff Reporter

MASERU – A showdown is looming at the Democratic Congress (DC)’s leadership conference this weekend as intra-party squabbles intensify.

Daggers are already drawn between two factions that have been tussling for the control of the party over the past year.

Top on the conference’s agenda will be the damaging factionalism threatening to tear apart the party, and upend the coalition government. Speculation that one of the factions could form a rival party has not helped matters.

Recent events have shown that even the National Executive Committee (NEC), the organ which runs the party, is also fractured.

The clash over the fleet management tender has only served to amplify the hostilities in the party. Equally revealing of the divisions in the committee is the reaction to a recent march to show support for the party leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

A clear distinction has now emerged between those supporting Mosisili and those behind his deputy Police Minister Monyane Moleleki.

Party insiders this week said they expect a stormy meeting whose outcome will determine the future of the ruling party.

“It’s going to be a clash of different reports so we are expecting a real battle. It might not end well,” said an NEC member.

“The reports will open old wounds. There are party members who are out of hand and they are doing it in the name of the leaders,” he said.

“Those people have launched attacks on the NEC and the deputy leader so it is natural that there will be a demand for them to be brought to book.”

There is no way, he said, the conference will end without discussing the corruption in the government.

“We know there is factionalism but the issue at the conference will be who is feeding these factions that are now threatening the future of our party,” said another NEC member.

“As far as I can see the real showdown will be on the corruption issue and party members attacking the leadership in public.”

DC secretary general Ralechate ‘Mokose said he believes the party will come out of the conference stronger.

“Our expectation is that we will be able to chart the way forward. The constitution is there to guide us. The focus should be on bringing the party together,” ‘Mokose said.

He said the main challenges are the “differences that have manifested themselves between party members”.

‘Mokose said it is for the different factions in the party to explain “their problems”.

Asked if he was expecting the meeting to be explosive, ‘Mokose said he could not speculate “but the role of the leadership is to manage such fights”.

Although there have been signs that all is not well in the DC the clearest sign came a few weeks ago during a march organised by Bokang Ramatsella, a Lesotho People’s Party member who is fiercely pro-Mosisili.

The majority of the committee members did not attend the march, triggering murmurs that they had boycotted it.

At that time ‘Mokose said he was not aware of the march. Moleleki said he would not attend a march organised by “nonentities”.

Several NEC members later told thepost that they viewed the march as a continuation of a plot to split the party.

The NEC has also come out strongly against Finance Minister Mamphono Khaketla, who is also the party treasurer, over the alleged corruption in the fleet management tender.

The committee said it wanted the government to cancel the deal and the alleged corruption investigated.

Yet Khaketa has the backing of some NEC members like party spokesperson Serialong Qoo who recently launched a scathing attack on the committee and Moleleki for allegedly speaking against government decisions.

Qoo repeated those attacks when he spoke to thepost this week. He said the NEC and Moleleki were “out of order” when they spoke out against the fleet management tender.

“Even his (Moleleki) allegations that some people want to kill him worry me. He cannot say that when he is the minister of police and an NEC member. That is not right,” Qoo said.

Apart from alleging that he has been marked for death, Moleleki has condemned the fleet management tender.

He said Lebolonyane, the company fighting for the contract, won the tender fairly.

Khaketla has said the fight over the tender is just part of a plan to get to Mosisili. She said she is being attacked because she is seen as the “bridge” to Mosisili. Those after her, she said, want to dip their hands into the party’s coffers.

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