Lehloenya dumps AD

Lehloenya dumps AD

MASERU – Alliance of Democrats (AD) stalwart, Teboho Lehloenya, has dumped the party to join Professor Nqosa Mahao’s Basotho Action Party (BAP).
Lehloenya, who is credited with the downfall of former premier Pakalitha Mosisili in 2017, joined the BAP with four other constituency committee members on Tuesday.

Lehloenya was seen as a Monyane Moleleki loyalist and was part of the leader’s advisory team.
His defection from the AD will be a major blow to the party which will need to pick a new leader after Moleleki indicated his desire to retire from active politics.

It is the highest profile defection to hit the party so far.
Three local councillors from his Kolo constituency in Mafeteng have also defected with him.
The BAP leader Professor Nqosa Mahao welcomed the four, together with hordes of party supporters, in Motsekuoa on Tuesday afternoon.
The defectors claimed that the AD national executive committee was not managing the party’s affairs well hence they decided to leave it to join the BAP.

Speaking at the gathering Lehloenya said the majority of their constituency is behind their decision to join the BAP.
“It is true that we are running away from mismanagement in the Alliance of Democrats,” Lehloenya said.
He alleged that very few people are left in the AD constituency committee, adding that “the entire constituency that was supporting the AD is now with the Basotho Action Party”.

Professor Mahao said in March 2019 Lehloenya visited him asking him to join the AD. This was during the height of bitter factional fights within the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.
Mahao said Lehloenya asked him to convince his supporters in the ABC to defect to the AD.
Mahao said he refused because “at the time I had hope that we would solve our differences amicably in the ABC”.
“We thought things would be fine but (that was) to no avail,” Professor Mahao said.

Mahao said the push factors from the AD are exactly what made him and his supporters leave the ABC and formed the BAP.
“Lesotho is experiencing party crises due to a lack of managerial skills by some leaders,” he said.
“That is why new parties are born day by day.”
He said some leaders sometimes abuse their powers.

One of the defectors, Sebaka Mokhesi, who was the AD constituency spokesman, said in 2017 Lehloenya was among the first to cross the floor from the DC in support of Moleleki’s newly founded AD but did not receive the recognition that he deserved in the party.
“This was after Moleleki had a nasty fallout with his erstwhile DC leader Mosisili,” Mokhesi said.

It was Lehloenya who piloted a successful motion of no-confidence against the then Prime Minister and Lehloenya proposed Moleleki’s name for the top job.
Mokhesi said the agreement was that Moleleki would push for Lehloenya to be the substantive Speaker of Parliament but he never did.
Instead Sephiri Motanyane, who is not a member of any party in the coalition, was made the Speaker, according to Mokhesi.
Motanyane was widely known as a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

Mokhesi said Lehloenya’s supporters kept quiet but in February 2021 Moleleki approached Lehloenya and told him that he should not contest for the constituency candidature.
The constituency is expected to go for a by-election this year.
Despite Moleleki’s instruction, according to Mokhesi, the constituency nominated Lehloenya to run for election in the constituency.

He also accused the party’s national executive committee of not standing up and “correcting” matters when Moleleki makes “unconstitutional decisions such as this one”.
The latest defections come a few days after Mahao held a large rally in Teya-Teyaneng constituency on Sunday where almost all ABC committee members defected to the BAP.

Mahao said it was gratifying that people were crossing to the BAP in large numbers.
He said the BAP sent Fako Moshoeshoe to Virginia in South Africa to tout Basotho to join the party.
Moshoeshoe, he said, brought good news from South Africa.
“They said they could not be left behind in joining the BAP,” Mahao said.
He also said they sent others to the Mantšonyane constituency last week where the messengers said the BAP was capturing the constituency.
This constituency was won by the ABC in the 2017 general election.

Mahao urged the party members to remain humble adding that humility will keep the party intact as experience had shown that once leaders become too big for their shoes people desert them.
The AD secretary general Dr Mahali Phamotse told thepost that Lehloenya “is just mad that his constituency does not like him anymore”.
“He has problems himself that is why his constituency people do not support him,” Dr Phamotse said.

She said Lehloenya should not drag the name of their party in the mud when he wants to leave.
Moreover, she said Lehloenya has a personal fight with his former private assistant who is now the constituency’s deputy chairman.
“They now have personal disagreements that they want to involve us in,” she said.

She also said the national executive committee decided to hold constituency by-elections in Kolo because in its judgment, Lehloenya rigged the previous polls.
“Lehloenya took the constituency stamp that was supposed to be kept by the secretary,” she said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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