ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator for Mosalemane constituency, Sam Rapapa, has shot down speculation he is leaving the party to follow the party’s former deputy leader, Tlali Khasu, who has jumped ship.
Mr Khasu parted ways with the ABC after waging a protracted court battle to revoke his suspension from the party’s National Executive Committee.
After appealing a High Court decision to uphold the suspension, Mr Khasu finally hit a brick wall when the Court of Appeal 28 October 2016 made the same ruling.
The Peka constituency legislator was suspended for three months by ABC leader Thomas Thabane on 17 September 2016 for allegedly castigating the former premier over a local radio station.
In announcing his departure from the ABC last week, Mr Khasu said he would not leave alone, adding there were “many others” within the party who were “tired of the persecution and want to leave the party”.
Even though Mr Khasu did not mention names of the would-be defectors, speculation has been rife Mr Rapapa and Motimposo Member of Parliament Pitso Maisa were among them.
However, in an interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday, Mr Rapapa rubbished the speculation saying it was the work of detractors wanting to tarnish his image.
“Ntate Khasu did not consult me in making the decision to defect. His resignation has nothing to do with me,” Mr Rapapa said.
“He was talking about some team that is leaving together with him but people should know I am not part of that team.”
Mr Rapapa said it would be foolhardy to leave a party that had been growing incrementally over the years.
“I joined active politics as a young man in 1995. We were both (with Mr Khasu) members of the Basotho Congress Party (BCP). During the 1998 elections, I was a BCP candidate for Mosalemane constituency. I only managed to clinch 190 votes while the Lesotho Congress for Democracy won the constituency with 4 357 votes.
“But after I found a political home in the ABC, I managed to win the constituency with 3 201 votes during the 2015 elections. I cannot leave Kobo-Tata (as the ABC is affectionately known). It’s obvious to everyone that ABC is the only party that is showing clear signs of growth.”
He added: “After its formation in 2006, the ABC managed to win 17 constituencies with 121 000 votes in the 2007 elections. In 2012, we won 26 constituencies with 138 000 votes. We showed growth again in 2015 when we won 40 constituencies with 215 000 votes. I would be very stupid if I did not take note of this growth and leave the party for something else I don’t even know.”
The former Tourism and Environment principal secretary also scoffed at rumours he intends to form a party.
“It’s also not true that I am forming a party. All these unfounded allegations are meant to tarnish my image. My detractors are annoyed by how active I am in the ABC and in parliament. They want to destabilise the ABC by trying to tarnish the names of powerful people in the party. “It’s a nasty strategy they are using to try to demoralise and cause confusion among our supporters.”
Repeated efforts to secure a comment from Mr Khasu and Mr Maisa proved fruitless yesterday.