The deputy leader of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), Professor Nqosa Mahao, has defended his faction’s decision to work with the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) to bring down the Thomas Thabane administration.
Prof Mahao said although they yearned for unity in the fractious ABC, his faction had agreed to work with the DC because such an alliance represented the best hope of “freeing our country from the current stagnation” where service delivery had ground to a virtual standstill. Prof Mahao said investors had shunned the country due to the prevailing instability.
He said this while addressing a well-attended rally in Qoaling, Maseru early this week.
His comments came in the wake of his faction’s alliance with the DC and other opposition parties to file a no confidence motion against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in parliament.
The motion was filed last Wednesday by the ABC’s pro-Mahao Koro-Koro constituency legislator, Motebang Koma and it was immediately seconded by DC deputy leader Motlalentoa Letsosa.
Mr Koma proposed that the ABC’s Mosalemane constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Samuel Rapapa, takes over as caretaker prime minister, presumably pending processes that would lead Professor Nqosa Mahao to assume the reins of power.
The no confidence motion is the culmination of the protracted war of attrition between the newly elected national executive committee (NEC) of the ABC fronted by Prof Mahao and the old NEC which has steadfastly refused to vacate office.
Prof Mahao is not a legislator and could therefore not be nominated to replace Dr Thabane despite his election as the latter’s deputy at the party’s contentious February 2019 elective conference.
Speaking at the Sunday rally, Prof Mahao said he was well aware that some people were critical of him for working with the DC which was at the helm of the government when his younger brother, former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao was assassinated in 2015.
“I want all of you to know that I can’t be emotionally and politically blackmailed by any one. I am not controlled by anyone but I am only controlled by what is right. I always do the right thing at the right time,” said Prof Mahao said of his faction’s alliance with the DC.
He his faction had agreed to work with the DC for the good of the country.
“In as much as they are congress, we couldn’t resist them. Who on earth in their right mind could resist such a proposal? We proposed to one another and we agreed to work together.
“What’s important for us is to free our country from this stagnation. Right now there is no administration, there are no services. This country has come to a standstill and there are no investors coming into the country because of the instability.”
Prof Mahao took a swipe at the speaker of the national assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, and his deputy, Teboho Lehloenya for allegedly delaying to announce the motion in parliament so that it could be voted on.
He appealed to Messrs Motanyane and Lehloenya to allow the tabling of the motion.
“I am appealing to those two speakers to allow the tabling of the motion in parliament and not to keep it in their offices. They should also stop asking Members of Parliament to append their names to the motion as this is not procedural. Please be professional.
“You can’t run away from this motion as it is a determining factor on whether or not the government has support. We therefore plead that parliament shouldn’t be closed as proposed because it is the legislators’ choice to make,” Prof Mahao said.
However, his pleas fell on deaf ears as parliament was on Monday closed indefinitely without the motion being tabled ahead of a vote to decide the premier’s fate.
On his part, DC deputy leader Mr Motlalentoa Letsosa said they had agreed to work with Mahao faction because they had a common enemy who had to be removed through a no confidence vote.
“We have agreed to work together in parliament because we have a common enemy, hence we have started with the motion of no confidence.
“This is the only arrangement that we have in place for now and there is nothing more to it than ganging up against the government. Ours is to further weaken this already weak government,” Mr Letsosa said.