Moleleki forms new party

Moleleki forms new party

Staff Reporter

MASERU – MONYANE Moleleki, the embattled deputy leader of the Democratic Congress (DC), is forming a new political party.
Moleleki’s decision comes after he last week failed to oust Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili from the premiership and the leadership of the DC.
Moleleki announced his decision to form a new political party on Monday, a day after he was kicked out of the DC at a special conference last weekend.
Nine other members of the DC’s national executive committee were also suspended for six years and were barred from holding any elective positions in the party.
By yesterday, it was however still not clear if the 23 MPs who had joined him in trying to push for Mosisili’s ouster would follow him in the new party.
“At present I am still the only and the first member of the new party,” Moleleki said, after announcing that his party’s offices will be in Bawker Road in Maseru.
“It does not have a name yet. The people who will join it, perhaps soon after this press conference, will give it a name and decide on its colours,” he said.
“So far I am the only one and if you join it you will be number two.”

Moleleki said he did not believe that he was on his way to committing “political suicide” saying “if I believed that I would not be doing what I am doing right now”.
Moleleki said he had consulted with followers at his Machache constituency and the people have mandated him to form a new party.
“I was in the constituency this morning,” he said.

On Sunday, Mosisili had asked the DC special conference to “strongly reprimand” 10 members of the national executive committee whom he had suspended.
The conference decided to replace them after suspending them for six consecutive years without participating in any activities of the DC structures.
Moleleki and nine other replaced national executive committee members will not stand for elections or become members of party committees from the village level up to the national committee.

Mosisili’s conference has also resolved that they will not stand as the party’s candidates in local government and parliamentary elections.
Moleleki’s faction did not attend the special conference even though they were not barred from attending after a panel of three High Court judges ruled that Mosisili could hold the special conference.

Moleleki told the press conference that they decided not to attend “to avoid bloodshed because, as you may have noticed, there is always a fight whenever these factions are together”.
The court had however given them the right to attend last weekend’s conference.
Also Mosisili had invited all members, including those he had suspended, to attend the same conference.
The rebellious national committee, then led by Moleleki, had suspended Mosisili from party membership saying in September he had participated in a march that had been organised to show support to the Prime Minister, the government and the then army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli without the committee’s approval.

The committee also accused Mosisili of disregarding its resolution to withdraw the party from the coalition government.
Mosisili however quickly retaliated by suspending the committee.
Mosisili was further infuriated by his committee when it signed an agreement with the opposition parties to form a new government that would replace the one he is leading without his involvement.

Moleleki was going to be the Prime Minister in the new government for the next 18 months with All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane taking over as Prime Minister for the remaining one and a half years.

Other members of the new government would come from the Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).
Mosisili called the special conference so that it could either confirm or reject the suspensions.
Both factions, Mosisili’s and Moleleki’s, simultaneously approached the High Court last week to interpret sections of the DC constitutions to see if it gives the national executive committee powers to suspend the party leader.

The court was also asked to tell if the leader can unilaterally call the special conference without involving the national executive committee.
The three judges, Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, Justices Tšeliso Monaphathi and Molefi Makara ruled that “the constitution of DC does not expressly or otherwise repose the powers of suspension and/or removal of the leader by the NEC”.

“Consequently the purported suspension of (Mosisili) . . . was null and void (from the beginning) and of no legal force or effect,” the court said.
“The constitution of the DC gives (the leader) . . .  express powers to suspend any member of the National Executive Committee.”

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