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Mahao battles to put out fires

Professor Nqosa Mahao is struggling to keep the lid on the boiling discontent in his Basotho Action Party (BAP). As factionalism continues to rock his party, Professor Mahao’s central executive committee has now resorted to blocking meetings in constituencies.

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For instance, the central committee recently blocked a meeting organised by Tello Kibane, the former party chairman, in his Maliba-Matšo constituency.

Kibane had called the meeting to explain why he resigned from the central committee a few weeks ago. The meeting was supposed to be attended by all constituencies in Leribe.
The central committee however responded by issuing a general circular in which it also banned the meeting.

Although the circular announced other things, it was the banning of Kibane in Maliba-Matšo that raised eyebrows.

The circular said the meeting should not go ahead because the party’s working committee was “already working the matter out with the chairman”.

Kibane has not yet been replaced because the central committee said it was still negotiating with him to reconsider his decision to quit.

After the circular was issued Professor Mahao held his own meeting at a lodge in Hlotse.

It is what Professor Mahao said at that meeting that has irked the Maliba-Matšo constituency.

In a letter to the secretary general, the Maliba-Matšo constituency accuses Professor Mahao of making disparaging remarks against constituency chairman, Lepesho Seshobakhobe.

The letter written by the Maliba-Matšo constituency secretary, Kao Moruti, alleged that the BAP leader accused Seshobakhobe of touting members to topple him.

Moruti also accused Mahao of saying Seshobakhobe was planning to dispatch a group of disgruntled members preaching lies that the leader had been ousted from office.

“These allegations by our leader were made in the absence of Seshobakhobe so that he could get the right to reply,” Moruti said.

He complained that Seshobakhobe was not given a chance to defend himself while his image was being tainted.

“We plead with the party’s national executive committee to withdraw the matter and protect our members,” Moruti said.

He said Seshobakhobe should be subjected to a lawful disciplinary hearing if there is a reasonable suspicion that he was planning to topple the leader.

In the second letter, the constituency requested a special conference to discuss “how to return the image of the party that has already been soiled”.

It says members are worried about the party’s image which has been soiled on social media platforms, radio, and newspapers.

“The image of the leader and the national executive committee also has to be protected,” the letter reads.

The Maliba-Matšo constituency says they suspect that the fight between Mahao and the principal secretary for the Ministry of Energy, Tankiso Phapano, has tarnished the party’s good image.

“We have heard that the ministry is on the verge of being occupied by the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP),” the constituency said.

“There is evidence that the party’s national executive committee has not handled the matter with the necessary care.”

The constituency said as a measure to return the image of the party to its former splendour, there must be a special conference that will map the way forward.

“We also need to (promote) unity and reconciliation between the party members.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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