Leaders are assessed based on integrity

Khauta Khasu, Lehlohonolo Tsehlana and Mothetjoa Metsing have reneged on their words

By Mzimkhulu Sithetho
MASERU: For whatever leaders do and say, they are often checked by their followers against the integrity lens. A leader's words and actions tell a lot as regards what kind of person he or she is and whether he or she has what it takes to be a leader. It is erroneously assumed that followers do not know what they are looking for from a leader, but they have the innate intellect to separate a true leader and a novice or manipulator. They may not only say it in words, but one day, they will show through actions. Thiskingdom.com analyses the actions of some leaders against the integrity lens.


Integrity is one of the qualities of a grand leader. A leader is consistent in what he or she is saying. A leader's actions do not change like weather, that today he acts in one way and tomorrow in another, depending on the circumstances, especially those that favour his or her own interests at the expense of others. A leader is not manipulative of situations to suit his own interests. A leader does not flout basic principles of humanity depending on the circumstances, particularly to tilt the levers in his personal favour. Integirty is defined as the ability, especially of a leader to be consistent in one's words and action. If something is wrong to a leader with integrity, it is wrong irrespective of who says it and does it. A leader with integrity does not buy faces of people or seeks to appease people with what he says and does. 

Khauta Khasu

Khauta Khasu is the former Deputy Leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), which is now embroiled in a bitter spat, drawing two factions in the party apart. Khasu's problems with the ABC started during the hay days when Leader, Thabane was still in the self-imposed exile somewhere in Ficksburg, South Africa. Then, Khasu expected to steal the limelight and hold party reigns in the absence of the leader, maybe as the party's constitution states that in the absence of his boss, he would ascend to the throne. To his dismay, he was ignored and the leader played the game of a leader who was just physically absent, but present in the party in all manner, every time and everywhere. Khasu felt undermined and stopped the repeated visits made to the leader in Ficksburg by the rest of the MPs. This act was meant to show loyalty to the leader and to rekindle the struggle against the then seven-party collation led by Pakalitha Mosisili. Khasu's boycott of the visits and his public utterances over the local media on the wrongfulness of loyalty to a leader, when he was absence did not go well with Thabane. Naturally, the latter enjoys being surrounded by loyalists - anyway, a this is a phenomenon in every party in Lesotho where leaders turn their parties into an abyss of loyalists, puppets and stooges. 

Khasu and Pitso Maisa, a faithful and loyalist of Thabane's got bitter and defected to form the Truth and Reconciliation Unity (TRU). The new party did not make any breakthrough. Observers argue that it was formed at a wrong time when public anger was towards the seven-party coalition led by Pakalitha Mosisili of the Democratic Congress (DC). Then, ABC was a darling of the voters across the spectrum and public sympathy was towards Thomas Thabane and those with whom he was exiled. Public anger was also towards the army, which had turned into a public enemy number one and a sword against the people it was intended to protect but now protected leaders. The seven-party coalition got publicly-vilified and this was also given credence by the diplomatic corps joining the fray to cast negative aspersions about the then government and threatening pull out on donor assistance.

It was then inconceivable to turn against Thabane. But now, Khasu was later seen attending ABC's rallies and sitting close to Thabane. A million-dollar question could be - what has happened to Khasu, what about the TRU followers who listened to his call for defection from the ABC because Thabane and his confidantes were wrong? Without ruling out possibilities for reconciliation among political leader, but this had signals self-aggrandisement at the expense of the majority. His silence on critical national issues was clear testimony that Khasu could not be trusted for his word. He depicted himself as an opportunist who only looked for what was good to himself, not the people who he had wooed to follow him. Recently, he announced his defection to the ABC, but to a faction that was against Thomas Thabane. What a mockery he has turned himself into? Also, he depicts himself as a slave of opportunism. While he can invoke the freedom of association clause, but his actions are suspicious. For a leader to allege that he was invited by the Mahao faction to join it is not reminiscent of a leader. A leader knows what he stands for and fights tooth-and-nail to defend that course, which he believes is a right course. At least if he argued that he saw logic in the Mahao faction and took a decision to join them would be at least understood, but still it could not exonerate him from the backlash of lack of integrity.

Lehlohonolo Tsehlana  

Lehlohonolo Tsehlana is the former Member of Parliament representing the Mokhotlong Number 79 constituency. He was a darling for the constituency for two consecutive elections - 2002 and 2007. When he was in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) he positioned himself as an assertive leader who minced no word to defend righteousness and to fight chicanery and political machinations. He was vocal about corruption and all ills that had bedevilled the LCD. He was fired later by the party and relegated to the bench in parliament until the ABC was formed in 2006. He joined the new party and still, became a darling of his constituency. He contested elections under the ABC banner in 2007 and still won. It was not long in the ABC that he did not see eye to eye with leader, Thabane. He defected later to form his Senkatana party. It did not see light of day as Mokhotlong and other people did not trust in his leadership but remained in the ABC. He has not won a seat under the banner of the Senkatana, let alone to drive the party to success. Later he was seen somewhere in the government complex driving a project in the Prime Minister's Office after the 2012 elections. He too, like Khasu parroted the mantra that Mokhotlong people wanted him to defect back to the ABC and to stand for elections. That project did not succeed and he was later seen in ABC rallies, purporting to be invited by the party leader. These actions and words depicted as a person who could not be trusted. 

Mothetjoa Metsing 

Mothetjoa Metsing is the leader of LCD. He ascended to the party during a tough period following one of the major splits that had happened in the party, the one which led to the formation of the DC in 2012. He had been at the centre of the spat within the LCD from the time of his election into the powerful position of Secretary-general between 2009 and 2012 when two factions parted ways, one forming a new party and another remaining. Metsing was later at that time elected LCD leader for sympathy by party followers that he had fought hard times in the LCD to defend the party from those who wanted to seize it just because they were in powerful positions in government. He led the party to the 2012 elections and won all northern constituencies, especially in his home district of Leribe but thought the party could did not clinch victory. He became deputy prime minister after a coalition was cobbled with the ABC and Basotho National Party (BNP). A serious difference of opinion on policy and how government should run started between him and Thabane and this collapsed the nascent first coalition. Lesotho was forced to go for a fresh poll in 2015, which ushered in a second coalition of seven parties. He became deputy Prime Minister again, but now under Mosisili. He gained confidence of the leader and the two became darlings, a move that prompted a split in the DC, seeing the deputy Leader, Monyane Moleleki becoming beleaguered and breaking away to form his Alliance for Democrats (AD). This defection was a major straw for the only five-year old DC and collapsed the coalition government. Metsing clung to Mosisili and still gained his confidence.

Today, Metsing is shuttling  between self-mposed exile on the premise that he is being followed and his life is in danger. But at the same time, he was rumoured to harbour plans to cobble a coalition with the ABC, AD, BNP and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) led by Keketso Rantso, a splinter group from the LCD during the hay days. Metsing has angered some in the party. He is parroting a mantra of a Government of National Unity (GNU), a move which he dismissed when he was still in government. When such a proposal surfaced in 2015/2016 as a possible measure to bust perennial conflict and to lead Lesotho to a new dawn, he said there were people who were running away form their own shadows and dismissed the idea of a GNU with the contempt it deserved. His argument was premised on the notion that when people have lost elections, they resorted to getting back to power the back window by parroting a mantra of a GNU. Checked against the integrity lens, he fails dismally because his word and actions cannot be trusted as he says something today, but another tomorrow. He also acts this way today, but changes tomorrow depending on the availability of opportunities towards himself. 


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