DC skirts hot issues

DC skirts hot issues

Staff Reporter

MASERU – THE Democratic Congress (DC)’s national executive commitee avoided putting hot issues on the agenda of the leadership conference last weekend due to fears that the meeting could descend into chaos.

Sources in the committee say there was a deliberate decision to avoid burning issues like corruption, succession, factionalism and internal conflicts.

The idea, the sources say, was to avoid fights that were expected at the meeting. In the end none of those issues at the crux of the crisis in the ruling party were resolved, much to the disappointment of some insiders who saw the conference as an opportunity to sort out the problems.

Some party officials this week said they were livid that the leadership conference skirted issues that are “causing the party to burn”.

Tensions were high in the party ahead of the conference, with the two warring factions sharpening their daggers.

A faction pushing for leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to remain as leader is in a bitter and dirty fight with one that wants him replaced by his deputy Police Minister Monyane Moleleki.

“There would have been real fights if those issues had been raised. The divisions are so deep that there would have been chaos,” said an NEC member who refused to be named.

“From what I can see the party remains where it was before the leadership conference. We are still as divided as we were before the conference.”

He said “not even” Mosisili’s call for unity “will do much to bridge the gap between the factions”.

“So much has been done. A lot has been said. Each faction wants revenge. It will take much more than one meeting and a strong speech to heal the wounds,” he said.

Part of the problem, he said, is that the other factions do not trust Mosisili to be a neutral mediator.

“The committee felt that it should be allowed to deal with these issues in a different forum. Remember that the leadership conference does not make decisions but recommendations,” he explained.

“We felt it would not be proper to bring up issues that cause fights in a meeting that will not make a decision.”

But DC secretary general Ralechate ‘Mokose said even if those issues had not been dicussed in detail Mosisili’s speech had given the party’s supporters “something to think about”.

“Not all issues could be discussed in one day so we are now planning a meeting as the committee to make the way forward on those issues,” ‘Mokose said.

“The leader has tried. We (committee) have tried. There are glaring differences so we need to sit down and see where our pitfalls are in order to find a solution”.

“As the leader said in his speech both factions were already approaching the All Basotho Convention (ABC). When you have a hung parliament the horse-trading does not stop but I believe we will be able to drive forward as a united party,” ‘Mokose said.

‘Mokose said although there could be many causes to the current problems in the DC, he believes the biggest one is that there is no clear succession policy.

“We do have a succession policy but no one really knows how far it goes. I would like to think that it has to be much more clearer,” he said.

“Some countries have clear policies that deal with such issues but here we leave it to the electorate to decide. As long as the people still want the leader then he will remain in office.”

“Such a procedure is open to interpretations by different schools of thought. It causes mudslinging and malice. People start pointing fingers at each other. This is where we are at the moment”.

In his emphatic speech Mosisili said there was no need for the party to split because of him as he is ready to step down.

“This conference has powers to call for a special conference if need be to elect a new leader of the party. Let us be true to the ideals of this congress party in the way we conduct ourselves,” he said as he dared his detractors.

“I pledge that when I step down, I will go to Tsoelike and serve the DC from the grassroots. Let us do things peacefully and within the confines of the laws of this organisation.”

Mosisili reminded the conference that he wanted to retire a long time ago but it was the DC members who begged him to stay on.

“Those who cannot tolerate me today have forgotten that I was elected against my own will.”

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