Fresh trotuble rocks AD

Fresh trotuble rocks AD

MASERU – THE Alliance of Democrats (AD), the second biggest party in the coalition government, is a house on fire.
This after 20 constituencies wrote to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) demanding that it be dissolved for “confusing” the party.
At the centre of the dispute appears to be the youth league’s national executive committee elections which were abandoned in February.
The 20 constituencies are Thetsane, Tsikoane, Qeme, Koro-Koro, Peka, Qoaling, Rothe, Mekaling, Likhoele, Mashai, Matsieng, Kolonyama, Mpharane, Teya-Teyaneng, Maama, Lebakeng, Abia, Khafung, Matelile and Motimposo.

In their letter, the constituencies also directed their ire at the party’s secretary general, Dr Mahali Phamotse, whom they accused of trying to pick her own cronies within the league. Francis Ramosetle, a party member within the grassroots structures, approached the High Court last month and successfully blocked the conference which was scheduled for February 28.

Ramosetle told thepost that according to their constitution, “10 constituencies are enough for the committee to call a special conference and make decisions”.
He said the party had failed to abide by its own constitution when it called the conference.
“Our constitution clearly states that the conference must be called three months before the elections,” Ramosetle said.
But they were stunned to see the NEC releasing a circular while they were in the midst of preparations.

Ramosetle said the circular told youths that a new system to nominate candidates would be used at the conference.
“They wanted Maseru to nominate only Maseru members,” he said, adding that was unconstitutional.
He said normally a circular had to come with names and positions.

Ramosetle said their committee said they should just nominate people so they are wondering who would choose positions for them.
“So this is what triggered me to approach the courts to nullify the conference before it could take place,” he said.
Through the courts, he said he managed to block the committee’s abuse of power.
“After I successfully sought the court’s intervention, the constituencies wrote to the NEC,” he said.

Ramosetle said their NEC is silent on what should happen next.
He said they gave the committee 28 days to solve their grievances.
He said he met party leader Monyane Moleleki last week and told him that he would never back down on his demands.
“I will not withdraw the case because I am helping our party,” Ramosetle said.
He said he is being threatened by those close to Moleleki for taking him to the courts.
But I have no choice, he said.

Ramosetle said the party is now proposing an out-of-court settlement.
He said he will only back down if the NEC releases a clear circular that was in line with the party’s constitution.
He said the previous circular said nominees who received big votes would automatically get into office before even being elected at the conference.
“This is cheating at its best,” he said.

He said he suspected the winners would all come from a faction aligned to the secretary general which he said would be undemocratic.
Ramosetle said their committee has never issued any financial statement regarding party funds.
He said although they have been in government for several years no financial statements have ever been made available to members.

Ramosetle blamed Moleleki himself for fuelling tensions. He said Moleleki claims that Thuso Litjobo and Mokhele Moletsane were both his children.
“That makes some people think they are also leaders because he talks about them everywhere,” Ramosetle said.
He said Moleleki will determine if the AD rises or falls depending on how the NEC conducts its business.
The crisis in the AD also saw the women’s league writing a letter to the party’s NEC complaining that they too do not support its decision because it is not acting within the confines of the party’s constitution.

The letter stated that the decision by the NEC for the constituencies to return stamps was also not lawful.
Last month the NEC released a statement postponing the women’s conference that was scheduled for March 28 until further notice.
The letter stated that members should withdraw all matters that were in the courts of law so that they could be negotiated by the committee outside court.

It also stated letters written by constituencies should be withdrawn too.
At the time, 14 constituencies had written letter passing a vote of no confidence in the NEC.
The AD’s secretary general, Dr Mahali Phamotse, declined to comment saying she “will not discuss my party’s affairs with the media”.
“I would do so with the AD members at the right platform.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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