A political power fight amongst the poor, but not for the poor in Lesotho

“A minister is not here at the march to show confidence to a prime minister?” So wondered Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili addressing a crowed at a march which his political party, Democratic Congress (DC) Executive Committee had denounced and urged supporters not to attend.

“These people who did not vote for my leader [Mosisili], are inviting me to a march to show confidence to my leader.” So said DC Deputy leader, Monyane Moleleki at a rally in his constituency, taking place simultaneously with the march.

A rally by DC Deputy Leader, Monyane Moleleki

These statements are reflective of the latest political development in the DC, a political party  whose leader is a prime minister leading a hardly two year-old coalition government comprising of seven political parties in Lesotho.

The march and the rally come a few days after DC suspended rallies following a chaotic rally in the Butha Buthe district north of Lesotho.

The Butha Buthe rally was stormed by disorder allegedly caused by DC youth members who want Moleleki to succeed Mosisili as opposed to Women’s League Chairperson, Dr. Ponts’o Sekatle.

A video clip of Butha Buthe rally captured youth making noise disturbing Sekatle who was  delivering a speech. Prime minister’s speech at the rally was played on local radio stations and has some background voices of people who disagreed with Mosisili on almost all the points he was making.

The march, owing to its attendance was acknowledged by many people through phone-in facility on some local radio stations to have been successful. The march’s success may have reassured the prime minister confidence as it was its primary objective. However, the march and the rally by his deputy occurring in two different places at same day, is an indication that Mosisili is still faced with mammoth task to restore order in his political party for him to lead the coalition government until the next elections in 2020.

LCD leader Mothejoa Metsing and DC Treasure Dr. Mapono Khaketla

On top of the agenda is his strategy to deal with the youth league and Finance Minister, Dr. Mapono Khaketla’s fight over a multi-million Bidvest Fleet tender. Khaketla has filed a court case against her political party’s youth league members who are alleging that she requested a M4million (Lesotho currency : 1 loti is equal to 1 RSA Rand) bribe to a company that claims to be in possession of the tender review document showing that the company had won, but the minister awarded job to Bidvest Fleet that did not tender. While the court case is yet to be heard, the fight is going on and the youth want the minister to resigning.

Another issue for Mosisili is that now that the march has proofed him to still have popular support,  he has to do away with allegations that he wants to leave DC and form a new political party allegedly called United Congress Movement (UCM) going viral on social media. It is alleged that UCM is to pave way for Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothejoa Metsing who is now deputy prime minister to become a prime minister.

DC deputy leader with ABC member

In 2012, Mosisili defected LCD to form DC, leaving Metsing who formed the first coalition government with All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Thomas Motsoahae Thabane and Basotho National Party (BNP) led by Thesele Maseribana.  Metsing became the deputy prime minister to Thabane, as DC became opposition.

In the current coalition government which is a result of 2015 national assembly elections, DC’s leader is a prime minister deputized by Metsing. Moleleki who is a deputy leader of DC’s leader is a minister of police, a post that is regarded junior in comparison to deputy prime minister’s position that Metsing occupied.

In 2012 DC was an opposition with Moleleki being a leader of the house of parliament. Had DC won, Moleleki could have been a deputy prime minister. Now with succession debate in the DC brewing Moleleki stands a better chance to become a prime minister. If the UCM is formed and gunner enough MPs to lead the government with  Metsing becoming a prime minister, chances of Moleleki becoming either a prime minister or deputy will be aborted. And Metsing will once again winning a political fight against Moleleki with technical knock-out.

Mosisili announced during the march that the parliament will resume its business on the 7th October, 2016. He has warned members of the parliament to be careful. While the warning may be a threat to some MPs, the successful vote of confidence march may not mean that Mosisili calls the shorts.

Alleged UCM logo

If Mosisili forms UCM, DC will be left to join hands with ABC, BNP, Reformed Congress Movement (RCM) led by keletso Rants’o and some of the smaller political parties in the current coalition government which may have enough seats to out- weight DC and its alliance. This may mean Moleleki will be deputy prime minister under a third coalition government probably led by Thabane.

From now until re-opening of parliament, much will depend on how hard each of the political leaders work to win confidence of the MPs to take control of the government.  It is in times like this our politicians will be seen in village holding secrets meeting campaigning for political support from people they have not make any positive change their lives.

The politics of Lesotho are not developmental issue based, but a mere struggle for political might to have leaders immune from facing justice to respond to rampant allegations of corruption. A closer look to political history of leaders of  both ruling and opposition shows that each of them has a stain that may be covered by political power.  This is not people’s political development agenda.


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