DC speaks on coalition with ABC

  •  two parties will work harmoniously in govt: Letsosa
  • pledges to cut down on PM’s costly foreign trips  

Pascalinah Kabi/Ntsebeng Motsoeli

DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) deputy leader, Motlalentoa Letsosa, says his party is “happy and relieved” that it will finally be forming a new government with the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the new government is expected to be sworn in on Friday 22 May 2020. It is supported by eight smaller parties.

In an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Mr Letsosa said they did not expect any problems working with the ABC as legislators from the two parties had cooperated and voted together on several issues in parliament.

He said once in government, his party would prioritise the reduction in extravagant spending on unnecessary foreign trips which have become a huge strain on the fiscus.

Mr Letsosa spoke after the collapse of the ABC-led four party coalition in parliament on Monday. Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is now holding fort until the swearing in of a new ABC-DC coalition to be led by Finance Minister and ABC stalwart Moeketsi Majoro.

He will be deputised by DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu. The collapse of the government is partly the result of incessant infighting in the ABC pitting party leader, Mr Thabane, against his deputy Professor Nqosa Mahao.

Prof Mahao, who enjoys the support of the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC), has been pressuring Mr Thabane to step down, accusing him of having become a liability to the ABC due to allegations he murdered his ex-wife and his general “incompetence”.

He is also accused of allowing his unpopular wife, ‘Maesaiah, a free hand to meddle in party and government business.

The embattled Mr Thabane had insisted he wants to go end of July 2020. He has unsuccessfully battled to get immunity from prosecution. The ABC and DC have steadfastly demanded that he quits now.  They do not want him to be part of the new government next Friday.

Mr Letsosa said they were extremely happy that an ABC-DC government would soon be in place, adding this was the first step towards leading the nation into a “promised land” of improved service delivery and economic development.

“We are very happy about the collapse of the government and the rise of the new one,” Mr Letsosa said.

“This has been a long time coming. We have been unhappy with the four-party coalition for a very long time. Now that it has collapsed, we are very happy. We hope that the ABC has gone past its squabbles and that any unresolved issues they might have will not affect the coalition in any way.”

He said his party looked forward to a good working relationship with the ABC and did not expect any problems as ABC legislators have cooperated with the DC on a number of issues in the past. The ABC MPs have even voted against their own government on several issues, he noted.

The ABC has 53 seats while the DC has 26. Mr Letsosa said his party was not overly concerned about which ministries it would get, saying they were “more interested in serving the nation diligently”.

He said the DC would hit the ground running and once in government, the party would push for the reduction of costly foreign trips which had bled the fiscus.

“We have always aired our dissatisfaction with the excessive and unnecessary spending ways of the four-party government. The government often financed international trips for the prime minister and his bloated entourage.

“Most of these people were not even allowed into the meetings they had presumably travelled to attend and they spent their time in extravagant shopping. Such unnecessary spending has crippled the country’s economy and it should be stopped.”

Mr Letsosa said the DC would also “salvage” the country’s economy from the hands of individuals like controversial businessman, Yan Xie.

Popularly known as John, Mr Xie was appointed economic advisor by Mr Thabane when the outgoing government came to power in 2017.

There are widespread allegations that the businessman of Chinese origin enjoys a monopoly over government tenders and he has improper business dealings with Mr Thabane and several cabinet ministers. He has often boasted of dishing out large sums of cash to ministers and other government officials to ensure he wins tenders.

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