Thotanyana dumps LCD

Thotanyana dumps LCD

MASERU – FORMER Mines Minister Lebohang Thotanyana is quitting the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) over the party’s support of the proposed Government of National Unity (GNU).
Although Thotanyana is not an MP and does not have a high-ranking position in the LCD he is well respected in his Teyateyaneng constituency.

It is therefore likely that he will walk away with a significant chunk of the LCD’s supporters in Teyateyaneng.
He came second when he contested for the Teyateyaneng seat in the 2017 election, with just over 1 700 votes.
Over the past five years he had become one of party leader Mothetjoa Metsing’s closest confidantes. He was the LCD’s head of elections in the last election and as well convener of the party’s constituency and district committees in Butha-Buthe and Berea.

He also led the team that wrote the LCD’s manifesto in the last election. And a few months ago he led the LCD’s negotiation team in the National Reforms.
A businessman, Thotanyana was regarded as one of the top technocrats around Metsing.
His exit might not be a mortal blow to the LCD but it illustrates the level of discontent within the former ruling party.
Thotanyana refused to reveal his next move but the thepost has been told that his supporters instructed him to throw his weight behind Professor Nqosa Mahao’s faction in the All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Thotanyana made the decision after meeting the LCD’s constituency committee in Teyateyaneng on Sunday.
A few days before that he had attended an informal meeting of the LCD’s district committees where Metsing said the party will support a GNU instead of an early election if the Thomas Thabane-led government falls.
Thotanyana said he and his supporters in Teyateyaneng are hostile to the idea of a GNU.
“We believe it’s an attempt to get into government through the backdoor,” Thotanyana said.
“A GNU means Thabane’s and his government popularity will not be tested. Instead, such an arrangement will give Thabane a lifeline he might not deserve.”

“Let’s have an election so that Thabane suffers the consequences of his actions over the past two years.
Let the people decide who they want first before we start coming up with a political arrangement that allows politicians to parcel out positions to each other without the people’s mandate.”
Thotanyana said he believes the idea of the LCD being in the same government with the ABC is “hypocritical given the historical animosity between the parties during the 2012 coalition”.
He said his supporters feel that a GNU cannot be used as a way to resolve the instability in the government.
“They say we cannot have a GNU to help resolve the trouble in the ABC. They feel that a GNU should be used as a transitional mechanism and not as a way to save a government that is falling because there is chaos in one of the coalition partners.

But Thotanyana’s gripe with the LCD is not limited to the GNU alone. He said over the past year he has been “shocked at how the far the LCD has moved from its founding principles of democracy”.
“There is just no space for democratic engagement in the party. On crucial issues in the party democracy has been stifled. There is just no platform to talk.”
He is unhappy that the party’s elective conference is overdue by nearly two years.
“The executive committee is still in office without the mandate from the members. It doesn’t seem like there is a plan to have internal elections anytime soon.”
He said he will not inform Metsing of his decision.

The LCD’s deputy spokesman, Apesi Rats’ele, said they are aware that Thotanyana intends to jump ship but are disappointed with the way he had gone about it.
He said all political parties have taken a position on the GNU but “some members are acting as if the LCD does not have a right to do the same”. .
Rats’ele said Thotanyana attended their consultative meeting at Khali Hotel last week but did not oppose the party’s position.
“He is allowed to quit but he should not tarnish the LCD’s name,” Rats’ele said.
“It is funny because we used to preach about the GNU together but now they have changed.”

Staff Reporter

 

 

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