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Mosisili’s parting shots

Feb. 1, 2019 3 min read

3 min read

… As main opposition party elects fresh new leader After a series of rallies meant to announce his decision to retire from active politics, Dr Pakalitha Mosisili had his chance to wrap up his parting shots in a ceremonial style where he also formally handed over reigns of leadership to a newly elected leader of Democratic Congress (DC). Before the weekend elective conference, Mosisili, former prime minister and founding leader of the main opposition party, DC, held a couple of rallies in the country whose purpose he said, “was to motivate members and thank them, to remind them of the congress movement since its founding until it acceded to power and lost it, to revitalize congress idea and to say good bye.”

At a rally held in Maseru on Sunday January 27, Mosisili relinquished power before hundreds of party supporters to Mathibeli Mokhothu, 41. Mokhothu’s ascend to leadership comes after elections of a new National Executive Committee (NEC) of DC where he won with 1681 votes against Tlohang Sekhamane, his competitor’s 84 votes. Speaking after handing over a party flag and constitution to the new leader, Mosisili asked Mokhothu to follow in the footsteps of the late Dr Ntsu Mokhehle who handed power to him a similar fashion in 1997.

Mokhehle was the founder of Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) which won elections in 1993. The party was forsaken and toppled by Mokhehle in 1997 to form Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) which he left in the leadership of Mosisili. Mosisili also left LCD in 2012 to form DC. According to Mosisili the election of young and fresh leader with fresh ideas meant “DC is renewing itself with the second youngest leader. The founder of congress formed it when he was only 34. Never too young to lead!”

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He promised Mokhothu that as a member of parliament and a senior member of the party, he will always avail himself for advice whenever he is called upon to do so. “I am truly happy that this is what should be done in our country and should serve as example that we shouldn’t wait to die in power. Somebody said, and I like that, It does not matter how good dancer you maybe, there will be time for you to get down from the stage,” Mosisili told Metro immediately after the ceremony and depicted a reference from the famous Shakespeare quotes where leaders have entrance and exit.

Mosisili has also announced that he will not stand again for elections as member of parliament when his term ends in 2022. On his part, Mokhothu vowed to focus his arsenal at the current coalition government which he accused of “being divisive, oppressive and presiding over the situation of politically motivated jobs, partisan promotions of civil servants, rampant corruption, escalating unemployment, poverty, unstable economic situation and unfair distribution of wealth among the elite.”

He was quick to condemn the killings of civilians by armed forces blaming the coalition government for issue of the armed forces to advance the ruling parties’ interests. He praised his predecessor for his achievements through various developments during his tenure as prime minister such as “introduction of free education, construction of schools, improvement of teachers’ salaries, provision of school books for affordable prices, provision of free ARVS against HIV/AIDS and subsidy on basic food to reduce poverty, among others.”

Mokhothu promised that under his leadership the DC if elected to power will not misuse armed forces to intimidate its opponents. He asked party followers to desist from insulting and disrespecting leaders of rival parties but debate in all respect. The leader of Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), a member of the opposition coalition of seven political parties under the leadership of DC, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, congratulated the new leader and encouraged him to hold hands with Sekhamane to build the party. He dissuaded opposition members of parliament from defecting to the ruling parties “for greener pastures as by doing so you are undermining the choice of the electorate.”

Elected to the new leadership of Mokhothu as the president of the DC are: Motlalentoa Letsosa as Deputy Leader, Ts'itso Cheba as Secretary General deputized by Molise Mofolo. The Treasurer is Hlalele Lets'aba. Mosala Mojakisane is conference chairperson deputised by Lethusang Kompi , Serialong Qoo is party's Spokesperson with Ramosa Ramaisa as Deputy Spokesperson. Ts'oeu Mokeretla and Nteboheng Ranthamane have been elected as the Publicity Officer and Deputy respectively. Other members of the committee are: Tebalo Mpiti, 'Mamookho Phiri, Palo Leteetee and Liphapang Raponts'o.

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