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Machesetsa faces ouster

FORMER Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Thesele ‘Maseribane, is plotting a sensational political come-back which has triggered a vicious power struggle in the party. This is according to the current BNP leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, who has accused Maseribane of brewing trouble in the party in a bid to topple him.

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The factional battle in the party also has a tinge of a family affair because ‘Maseribane is Mofomobe’s uncle.

Although tensions have been simmering between the two and among the factions, Mofomobe has now openly accused ‘Maseribane of plotting his demise but said he is ready for the fight.

He said ‘Maseribabe is desperate to wrestle the leadership from him because his term as Lesotho’s Ambassador to Italy is about to end.

Mofomobe said Maseribane and his faction have been instigating the party’s constituency committees to call a special committee where they plan to topple him.

The idea, Mofomobe told thepost this week, is to force through a constitutional amendment that suspends the party’s two-term limit so that ‘Maseribane is re-elected as leader.

‘Maseribane completed his two terms in 2021 and was replaced by Mofomobe who beat four other candidates in a bruising battle.

“Thesele is leading the faction that wants to unseat me. Unfortunately, they don’t have support from the grassroots,” Mofomobe said this week.

“I have seen this plot from afar and I am ready for their dirty tricks.”

He alleged that Maseribane is “desperate” to return as BNP leader because Prime Minister Sam Matekane rejected pleas to extend his contract as ambassador.

“I know that he doesn’t have any other means of earning a living except being in parliament and being deployed in embassies. He is now desperate because his tenure is coming to an end and he has to find a way of being employed.”

But Mofomobe says Maseribane’s “attempt to sneak back into power through the back door will be met with a serious fight back because it will be a serious violation of the constitution”.

He said, “apart from the fact that ‘Maseribane’s faction doesn’t have support from the constituency committees, they have also miscalculated and mistimed their plot”.

“The constitution says any proposed amendment to the constitution should reach the secretary general six months before a conference. So it’s too late to suggest an amendment because we are having a conference this month.”

“The same constitution says an amendment should be endorsed by the national executive committee and I can assure you that it won’t be endorsed”.

Mofomobe said ‘Maseribane’s faction is being fronted by former advocate Bereng Makotoko, who was Maseribane’s principal secretary when he was a minister in the previous government.

He said other key members of the faction are Lesojane Leuta and Moeketsi Hanyane, who both once held the position of secretary general in the party.

“The other instigator is Joang Molapo, the former deputy leader, who defected to the Alliance of Democrats, then moved to the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) before jumping again to the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP). He is now back working with Maseribane to fight me.”

Mofomobe said Molapo was a guest of honour at the feast that ‘Maseribane held at his rural home in Mt Moorosi a few weeks ago.

‘Maseribane invited the BNP’s constituency committees and members to the feast whose reason he said was to reconnect with the party’s followers.

Mofomobe, who was not invited, held his own feast in Mt Moorosi days later. He called it a “flag raising” ceremony, a symbolic sign that he is still the BNP’s leader.

Mofomobe also accused ‘Maseribane of using a chief in Quthing to intimidate some BNP members who attended his recent rally in Mt Moorosi.

“That chief tried to block our rally even though we had a permit from the police. Just this week, I heard that the same chief was interrogating BNP members about the purpose of our rally,” Mofomobe says.

Last night, ‘Maseribane said he didn’t know what Mofomobe was talking about, insisting that he was still an ambassador and therefore above party politics.

“I am right upstairs. I do not work clumsily,” Maseribane said.

He said “if Mofomobe had any dream that he harbours any ambition of toppling him then I respect him for that dream”.

“I execute the dream through hard work,” ‘Maseribane said.

Last week, Advocate Makotoko denied plotting against Mofomobe but said “the truth is that many of us BNP members are tired of his leadership”.

“We have had enough of him. We do not want him as our leader anymore, because our party has declined from 23 000 votes during the past elections to a paltry 7 000 in 2022,” Advocate Makotoko said.

Apart from the factions led by Mofomobe and Maseribabe, there is also a third one dominated by the party’s stalwarts.

This faction is opposed to ‘Maseribane’s return and Mofomobe’s readership. Instead, it is pushing for Professor George Mosotho as a “third-way” candidate because it believes ‘Maseribane’s return will be unconstitutional and Mofomobe’s leadership could further damage the party.

But thepost understands that Professor Mosotho also enjoys pockets of support within ‘Maseribane’s faction. A source said this was apparent during a meeting held on the sidelines of ‘Maseribane’s feast in Mt Moorosi.
The source said although the meeting was supposed to be for Maseribane’s loyalists some people openly said they don’t want him as the leader.

“They then reached a compromise that Professor Mosotho would be the leader and ‘Maseribane would be the deputy. We were told to keep that suggestion secret until the conference when we will suspend some clauses to pave the way for its implementation.”

Mofomobe said he is ready to face an election when his first term ends but “I will not be pushed through unconstitutional means”.
“That will not happen”.

Staff Reporter

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