BNP divided over letter to MEC



MASERU – The Secretary General of Basotho National Party (BNP) Tšepo Lethobane’s letter to the party’s rivals, Movement for Economic Change (MEC), has divided the party, Public Eye can reveal.

On April 6 this year, Lethobane wrote to his counterpart, secretary general of MEC Napo Moshoeshoe asking for support.

“In line with the constitution of the BNP: No.8(c)(i) it is stipulated that the leader of the party shall hold office for only 10 years unextendably (had he/she been fortunate enough to have won leadership elections for second term,” Lethobane wrote in his letter.

“The leadership conference shall be held on 11 – 13 June 2021, whereby it is deemed necessary for my office to implore your good office/organisation to support us in all spheres to maintain the rule of law in attaining democracy,” he added.

Lethobane also told Moshoeshoe: “It is therefore, by virtue of the BNP constitution that, (sic) the current leader Morena Thesele John ’Maseribane shall on the 12th June 2021 be marking his unextendable 10th year as the leader of the party.”

“May I, on behalf of my party, pass my vote of thanks to your good office for having availed yourselves in such times as these, whenever we needed you,” he concluded.

Moshoeshoe confirmed to Public Eye yesterday that he received the letter. This publication understands that the letter has raised dust within the BNP and prompted sharp criticism from dissenters.

But Lethobane told this publication yesterday that there was nothing sinister about the letter to MEC, suggesting letters were written to other political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). “Some people decided to pick up the MEC to pursue their own political agenda,” he said.

He indicated that writing letters to various political parties and NGOs, both local and international, was one of many ways adopted by the BNP in its endeavour to deliver elections that everyone can trust and strengthen internal democracy.

“As political parties we are currently working with Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) on its programme that contributes to deepening democratic culture within political parties and nationally. That is why we wrote letters to various political parties and organisations to inform them that we are holding an elective conference in June and implored them to watch closely how BNP will carry out this important task,” he said.

He further stressed that election observation was a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections. DWF is a southern African non-profit company focused on democracy development in the region. With its headquarters in South Africa, DWF works through its country offices to provide tools to develop resilient democracies.

It opened its doors in 2014 in response to the weakening of public institutions, corruption and declining public participation in South Africa as well as concerns about democratic and development progress in post-liberation southern Africa.

It claims on its website that as an independent foundation, it builds and promotes inclusive, equitable and sustainable consensus democracies.

It does so by providing tools, platforms and content to strengthen democrats, democratic culture and democracy institutions.

Hundreds of BNP delegates from across the country will gather next month in Mazenod to choose a new party leader.

Those jostling to replace ’Maseribane’s who is also the current minister of small business development, are deputy leader Machesetsa Mofomobe, former secretary general Lesojane Leuta, professor Lehlohonolo Mosotho, advocate ‘Mota Nkuatsana, ‘Machere Seutloali and ‘Mamotšepe Motšpe.

There is every sign the conference will be acrimonious.

The run-up has been characterised by bitter clashes, with lawsuits and public spats employed as weapons by rival factions.

Earlier this year, Public Eye reported that seven members wrote a letter to Lethobane saying ’Maseribane’s second and final term as leader of BNP was supposed to expire on March 26 this year.

They argued ’Maseribane should not continue leading the party beyond March 26.

“According to our knowledge, the current leader was first elected to lead the party at a conference that was held at BNP headquarters from March 25 to 27 in 2011,” the seven disgruntled members said.

They were; ’Mota Nkuatsana, Moorosi Moshoeshoe, Emmanuel ’Mako, Lesiamo Molapo, Mochai Mochai, Matobo Mabathoana and Michael Mohasi.

Their efforts to jettison ’Maseribane from the helm in March were unsuccessful.

Last week Public Eye reported that another contestant, Lesojane Leuta, wrote to Lethobane asking him to rein in Mofomobe whom he accused of breaching all leadership campaign protocols.

“I wish to bring to your attention the disgraceful manner in which Mr. Machesetsa Mofomobe conducts himself in this campaign for the leadership position of the BNP,” Leuta said in his letter.

“In the process he unashamedly breaches all protocols agreed upon in your office on April 1, 2021 when we were issued with letters of authorisation to enter constituencies for campaign purposes,” he added.

Leuta also explained to Lethobane that Mofomobe had arrogated to himself the right to speak ill of other contenders “contrary to item 2”, specifically, of the guidelines agreed between the candidates and the sub-committee set up to oversee the smooth running of the contest.

Mofomobe dismissed Leuta’s as “just a person who is reacting negatively to the reality that he is going to lose”. He indicated that Leuta was sulking over impending defeat.

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