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Mahao rules out forming splinter party

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao and his allies have ruled out forming a splinter party as his faction’s battle for control with the party’s former national executive committee (NEC) shows no signs of ending.

Prof Mahao clinched the deputy leader’s post at the party’s February 2019 elective conference. His allies, Lebohang Hlaele (secretary general), Samuel Rapapa (chairperson), Montoeli Masoetsa (spokesperson) and Matebatso Doti (deputy spokesperson) also clinched powerful posts in the party’s NEC. But the five have not been able to discharge their new roles after party leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane opposed their election. Dr Thabane subsequently “expelled” them from the party last month. The five have since challenged the expulsions and should their application succeed in the High Court, they plan to hold a special conference to expel Dr Thabane from the party.

On Sunday, Prof Mahao addressed ABC supporters at a rally in Matsieng and ruled out forming a new party.

He said he was aware that some supporters had grown weary of the ABC power struggles and even wanted him and his allies to form a new party. He however, urged his supporters to be patient, saying the battle was almost over and they were confident of winning their case against Dr Thabane.

“We have heard and we know that the patience is wearing off for some of you,” Prof Mahao said.

“But I should remind you that we want to build a strong party with good leadership,” he said adding they were optimistic that they will win the case against their “expulsion” from the party. He said that if the court rules in their favour, they would convene the special conference to decide Dr Thabane’s fate.

“The special conference will also help the ABC members to take control of their party,” he said.

Prof Mahao said they would also hold a policy conference to come up with strategies to enable the ABC to lead the nation to prosperity.

The special conference was initially planned for 6 July 2019 but it had to be aborted after Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase on 5 July 2019 granted Dr Thabane an interim order barring Prof Mahao and his allies from holding it.

Speaking at the Matsieng rally, Mr Hlaele also ruled forming a new party, saying a lot of time and resources had already been invested in the fight for the control of the ABC and it would not be right to give up now.

“It is too late to form a new party. We have fought for far too long using our resources. We cannot despair now when victory is in sight. Let us not form a new party out of anger. We have faith that we will cross over to the promised land. This party is ours. We have a right to it,” Mr Hlaele said.

His sentiments were echoed by the ABC’s Pela-Tšoeu constituency legislator Mphosi Nkhasi who said it was a bad idea to form a new party when the new NEC had been legitimately elected into office in February this year.

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