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RFP slaps ‘traitors’ with show-cause letters

Business

Mohloai Mpesi

The ruling Rovolution for Prosperity (RFP) party has dispatched letters to the three ousted Members of Parliament (MPs) – Dr. Mahali Phamotse, Thuso Makhalanyane, and Kobeli Letlailane – calling on them to provide reasons why their expulsion should not be enacted.

The RFP recently convened its Annual General Conference at Ha Leqele in Maseru, during which the decision to expel Phamotse, Makhalanyane, and Letlailane was resolutely reached.

The letters to the MPs stated, “Acting in line with its powers under Article 17.7, the conference unanimously agreed to alter your suspension to a dismissal from the party. You are invited to show cause, in writing, no later than noon on October 11, 2023, why the National Executive Committee (NEC) shall not implement the decision of the Annual General Conference as mandated by Article 20.2(b)(i) of the Constitution of RFP.”

Makhalanya confirmed receipt of the letter and remarked that he was yet to seek legal advice.

He stressed the preeminence of the conference as the highest decision-making body within the party, indicating his bewilderment at the NEC’s request for counterarguments against the purported decision.

“To what end should I respond to the NEC. What will happen if I convince it that it should not implement that purported decision, will it defy the conference? This to me sounds like a futile exercise,” he said.

He also highlighted that they were not accorded a hearing prior to the alleged expulsion, citing a departure from principles of natural justice.

Phamotse contended earlier this week that their removal from the party was unlawful.

This expulsion follows a six-year suspension imposed in August for their purported opposition to the government’s agenda during a special parliamentary session.

Makhalanyane, who initiated legal proceedings upon receipt of the notices of disciplinary hearing, contended that the charges against him lacked substantial foundation. This case remains pending in the High Court.

Phamotse vehemently asserted this week that their expulsion was unlawful, emphasising that the matter was still sub-judice.

She stated: “We have already challenged their prior decision to suspend us and the matter is still pending in the courts of law. What they are doing now is unlawful because we still have a pending case.”

This was after RFP’s public relations officer, Mokhethi Shelile, and deputy, Thabo Maretlane, held a press briefing this week to shed light on the expulsion process.

During the conference, party leader Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane branded the trio as traitors who turned against the party, accusing them of utilising mainstream media and radio stations to voice their dissent.

“When we ventured into politics, we proclaimed ourselves that we are going to bring change and do things differently. While we were working hard, traitors emerged within us,” Matekane said.

“We have not completed a year in office but we are already experiencing rebellion and many other problems that do not give us a chance to govern,” he added.

Matekane revealed attempts at negotiation, which he said were rebuffed by the MPs, leading to their suspension. “I called them countless times and tried to negotiate with them but failed. They got out of hand,” he said.

The conference, consisting of three committee members from every constituency, ultimately decided to expel them.

Maretlane this week clarified that the National Executive Committee (NEC) could suspend but only the AGM held the power to dismiss members.

He emphasised that it was the conference that determined their expulsion.

Phamotse, Makhalanyane, and Letlailane will continue as MPs for their respective constituencies, despite their dismissal from the party.

RFP was formed just six months before the October 2022 national assembly elections by the business mogul Sam Matekane.

It won 56 out of 120 parliamentary seats – five seats short of an absolute majority.

But the impressive win fell short of a majority that would have ended the era of unstable coalition politics in Lesotho.

It then formed a coalition government with the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) and Matekane became the prime minister.

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