THE ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leadership conference has endorsed a compassion proposal to reward the loyalty of its thirty eight parliamentarians by clearing them to contest the 3 June 2017 elections without having to undergo the normal rigours of intra-party primary elections.
The leadership conference was held last weekend by the ABC National Executive Committee to chart a way forward ahead of the polls which were announced by His Majesty King Letsie III following the opposition’s successful no confidence vote against the Pakalitha Mosisili-led government and the subsequent dissolution of the Ninth Parliament early this month.
The opposition bloc consisting of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) sponsored the no-confidence motion in the hope of replacing Dr Mosisili with AD leader Monyane Moleleki as Prime Minister in lieu of elections.
However, their hopes were dashed when King Letsie III heeded Dr Mosisili’s advice to dissolve parliament and call for elections.
And in light of the looming elections, the ABC’s leadership conference which was held over the weekend, decided the legislators should contest without having to be vetted by the party followers at the grassroots.
ABC Chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe this week told the Lesotho Times that the leadership conference which was attended by delegates from the country’s 80 electoral constituencies, was not an instruction but a show of empathy intended to reward loyalty.
“Our leader, Ntate Thabane, made a humble proposal to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) which called the party’s leadership to a conference this past weekend to seek approval,” Mr Maliehe said, adding, “And indeed, we were granted the leadership conference’s approval”.
“On the other hand there is still an allowance that various constituencies should be allowed to conduct internal primaries to nominate their preferred candidates if they feel there is such a need,” said Maliehe who was the Botha-Bothe constituency MP.
He said this was a well-thought and well-meaning proposal as the MPS had sacrificed their tenure midway into their five year term by supporting the no-confidence motion which cut short the life of the Ninth Parliament which should have ended in 2020.
He said the party emerged from the conference stronger as it also had an opportunity to build consensus among members from the grassroots.
“We were able to reach a consensus, including the fact that the constituencies are still allowed to hold primary elections if they find it necessary.”
He said it was his personal view that the country’s politics were plagued by several challenges that often resulted in MPs even forking out their own finances to address, hence the need for the ABC to come up with a unique policy to show empathy to loyal MPs.
“We are the first party to do this after we saw in the past that when the first coalition government collapsed and we went for election, there were many MPs who participated but never returned to parliament.
They were in the forefront of supporting the collapse of our government but they did not return to parliament and we did not want to see our MPs suffer the same fate, hence the leadership conference sanctioned that proposal.”
He also said the leadership conference was also a chance to share the party’s manifesto with the grassroots structures that were key to the party’s successful elections campaign.
“We thoroughly discussed our primary elections campaign messages and the expected conduct of the party officials, party agents and membership during the polling day.”