TEBOHO KHATEBE MOLEFI
MASERU – A day before the Basotho National Party (BNP) membership elect a new leader, prominent youth activist ‘Machere Seutloali has withdrawn her candidature for the apex party office – endorsing fellow contender Machesetsa Mofomobe.
The BNP goes into an elective conference this weekend to anoint a successor to outgoing leader Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane whose second term in office expired in March.
The conference will be held at Mazenod, a few kilometres out of the CBD, and delegates from the country’s 80 constituencies where the party has active structures have begun arriving at its headquarters for verification and preparations to go to Mazenod.
Announcing her decision to endorse Mofomobe at party head office in Maseru today Seutloali said she withdrew from the race following extensive contemplation; from which she put the unity of the party before her personal ambitions.
“To this stage of the race the two of us have evidently proved to be frontrunners, and we deliberated and decided on a united vote for a single candidate…this informed by my strong conviction on the unity of the BNP,” said Seutloali, adding “my campaign, as everybody knows, has been pillared on party unity and we want to join hands to ensure a common vision that will lead to which we both strive for…party unity.”
“It is solely for the realization of that wish of mine that I am withdrawing from the race for party leadership to support Cheese (as deputy leader Machesetsa Mofomobe is fondly called by friends and supporters alike).”
Seutloali said she had not been coerced in any way to sacrifice her candidature for party unity and growth.”
Speaking at the same occasion and welcoming his rival’s gesture Mofomobe revealed that a series of meetings between him and Seutloali have been held ahead of their agreement to join forces. He said this decision was mulled even before the both submitted the candidature to be ‘Maseribane’s successor.
“We have a common interest and we have agreed to work together.”
Mofomobe appreciated his challenger’s decision, highlighting it as one of the many indicators of the BNP’s strengths as a principled and democratic institution.
“The BNP is exemplary in all things, we are the only party whose constitution allows for a two-term tour of duty for a leader, the only party whose candidates for leadership can hold meetings and deliberate over a meal, where prior to an election we allow our candidates to publicly debate and show their mettle…now this, and endorsement of a candidate by another while withdrawing from a challenge.”
Seutloali and Mofomobe had pledged to unconditionally accept the results of the electoral conference.