- demands rewards for services to the ABC
BARELY four months after threatening to reveal damaging secrets about First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane, prominent famo musician and All Basotho Convention (ABC) activist, Mosotho Chakela, is back with new threats.
This time he is demanding his ‘pound of flesh’ from Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government or he will name and shame “corrupt” ABC ministers.
Mr Chakela, whose real name is Rethabile Mokete, describes himself as “a very expensive player like Ronaldo” the famed Juventus soccer player.
He is adamant that he and his Terene gang of famo music followers should be rewarded for “fighting tooth and nail” to ensure the ABC romped to victory in the 3 June 2017 national elections.
In May 2019, a bristling Chakela made waves on radio when he threatened to spill the beans on Ms Thabane and then Police and Public Security Minister, ‘Mampho Mokhele.
“I want to reprimand ‘Mampho Mokhele. I want to seriously reprimand the First Lady…..” Mr Chakela said then without elaborating.
Four months later, Mr Chakela is at it again and this time his wrath is directed at the Thabane government for allegedly failing to reward him with a plum job “or even a tender to either landscape or water flowers at the State House”.
He threatened to name and shame some “corrupt” ministers and principal secretaries whom he said had been directed by Dr Thabane to reward him for his role in propelling the ABC to power but had not done so. While some people had been rewarded after the ABC won power again, Mr Chakela said he hadn’t been given anything.
“I have fought nail and tooth for this party and I am one of its founding members,” a fire-spitting Mr Chakela told the Lesotho Times this week.
“My people (famo musicians and fans) have dedicated their lives and shown allegiance to the ABC over time but none of us as are benefitting just because we are not educated enough.”
He said when the ABC came to power, he had been promised a parliamentary seat as a non-constituency legislator on the proportional representation list. The promise was, however, not fulfilled, he said.
“I was promised I would be on the ABC’s proportional representation list for legislators and when that failed I was then promised a job as a consul (at one of Lesotho’s consulates). That promise wasn’t fulfilled and I was then promised I would be posted to one of the embassies and still that hasn’t materialised. Now I cannot even be awarded a tender for landscaping or even watering the flowers at the State House. Could this still be an issue of qualifications?
“There have been so many empty promises and I have even complained to my leader (Dr Thabane) and he keeps telling me that he has ordered his ministers and principal secretaries who never do as they are told and keep giving flimsy excuses.
“I have a construction licence but cannot even be afforded the opportunity to maintain the roads by filling potholes. It is just a matter of time before I snap because I am aware that Lesotho’s jobs and tenders are corruptly awarded.
“Those in charge are giving jobs to their concubines, relatives and those who pay bribes. But I don’t pay bribes. It is just a matter of time before I name and shame those who have solicited bribes for tenders. People have been swindled of their monies.
“There are six ministers who think that the ABC belongs to them and their families and it’s just a matter of time before we put them in their place. We will jump onto their tables and knock some sense into them.
“Some of these ministers and principal secretaries are so corrupt that if random searches were to be made, they would be found with millions of maloti.
“These people are undermining me and I am warning them to never undermine someone who has some dirt on them because it might be used against them one day. If you claim to love someone, do as you preach. I have been promised so many things which have never materialised and people are benefitting under my nose yet I fought for this party,” a furious Mr Chakela said.
He said while the government could not hire everyone, it could at least hire him or some of his colleagues who had sacrificed so much for the ABC. He said when he joined the ABC at its inception in 2006, he did so with many others. He said although these people had belonged to other parties, he convinced them that their presence would be recognised and their lives would improve.
“Some artistes have gone oversees with some ministers and have earned per diem (travel and subsistence allowances) and yet I have never been offered a similar opportunity. People are busy lining their pockets with per diems as if it were some get rich quick scheme and yet they come to get us to campaign for the ABC when it’s time for elections. I am not happy at all. I am slowly losing my cool and all hell shall break lose, I am deeply hurt.
“I have shed tears and blood for this party. Today not even a handful of my people have been given jobs to clean at any government office. Their lives are still the same and the pressure is mounting on me. It is worth pointing out that I am on demand and there are parties who are ready to work with me. It is just a matter of time before I leave but as for now I am still loyal to ABC and so are my people.
“The government cannot hire all of us but taking in just a handful would make a difference. This is not about me as an individual but it seems that there are some people who were imposed on us and made ministers. Now they look down upon us just because we are famo musicians. These men will not be ministers for their entire lives and when they leave office we shall beat them up and remind them how they used to disrespect us.”
On why he held a sense of entitlement, Mr Chakela said he had actively campaigned for the ABC and had at one stage been forced into exile by the previous Pakalitha Mosisili regime to escape arrest for alleged treason.
“My father died in 2007 while I was in exile and I was forced to bury him in South Africa. Ntate Thabane promised to rebury him in Lesotho but to date this has not materialised and no one has even cared to ask me about it,” Mr Chakela said.