- says AD leader’s alliance with Thabane won’t get him back to power,
- says Moleleki should be charged with treason against Thabane’s first govt.
RULING ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa has hit back at former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki saying the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) leader should disabuse himself of the notion that fraternising with ABC leader Thomas Thabane will help him get back to power.
He also claimed that Mr Moleleki had a treason case to answer alongside another former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane. He alleged that the AD leader was involved in the 30 August 2014 coup attempt against the first government of former premier Thabane.
Mr Masoetsa made the claims in an interview with Lesotho Times this week.
He was speaking in the wake of Mr Moleleki’s constant criticism of the new governing coalition anchored by the ABC and Democratic Congress (DC) parties.
The ABC-DC coalition came to power in May this year, replacing the previous four party administration led by Mr Thabane. Mr Moleleki served as Mr Thabane’s deputy from June 2017 to May 2020.
Although Mr Thabane’s other erstwhile partners, namely the Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) were all allowed to join the current Moeketsi Majoro-led government which took over in May this year, Mr Moleleki’s AD party’s bid to join was rejected by the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) on the grounds that the AD had continued to stand by Mr Thabane even after his own ABC party’s NEC had decided that he should make way for Dr Majoro.
Having found themselves out in the cold, Mr Moleleki and the ABC faction loyal to Mr Thabane forged an alliance and even attempted to rally disgruntled government and opposition legislators to pass a no confidence vote against the Majoro coalition in parliament.
The plot to unseat the government has not come to fruition as it has not generated enough support among legislators. Apart from criticising the government and predicting its fall at every opportunity, Mr Moleleki and fellow AD officials are often seen with Mr Thabane and his loyalists at public functions.
Last week, Mr Moleleki accompanied Mr Thabane to the Thetsane industrial area where the latter had gone to personally thank factory workers for buying him some Christmas presents which included a hat and a blanket.
Commenting on these developments this week, Mr Masoetsa said Mr Moleleki’s actions and constant criticism of the current government painted a picture of “a man so desperate to get back into government that he can’t even hide it”.
“He thinks by cosying up to Thabane, he will get back into government again so that he can finish his term of deputy prime minister and get his benefits but he will never succeed.
“He will never make it back because Thabane no longer has an important say in the party. His powers to unilaterally make decisions without consulting the rest of the NEC were stripped off by the courts,” Mr Masoetsa said in reference to Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane’s 2019 ruling that Mr Thabane had no right to expel ABC members without the NEC’s approval. Justice Sakoane said on the other hand, the NEC was itself vested with powers to suspend or expel the leader.
Mr Masoetsa also said Mr Moleleki had turned himself into a joke by following Mr Thabane everywhere the later went to give the impression that theirs was a solid alliance.
“We have heard that they claim there is a working relationship between them but that is all just wishful thinking.
“These are the same people who said our government will not last beyond August 2020. They had even said they would move a no confidence motion when parliament reopened (on 5 October) and now they say they are giving us until after Christmas. You can only change a government if you have numbers and they don’t have the numbers.
“We are past the stage of destructive politics and we are now into credible politics. He (Moleleki) thinks he can easily infiltrate us and get back into government but that will never happen. We stripped Thabane of all his powers because we had seen that he was dangerous to us as there were people who were busy giving him wrong advice.”
He also said Mr Moleleki should have been charged with treason alongside Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane.
The treason allegations against Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane stem from the 30 August 2014 attempted coup against Mr Thabane’s first government.
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Metsing was deputy prime minister at the time while Mr Mochoboroane was LCD secretary general and Communications, Science and Technology minister.
The duo is yet to be charged alongside former army commander Lieutenant General Kamoli and fellow soldiers, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane and Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.
Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane will only join their fellow accused if they lose their pending High Court application to stop the state from joining them to the trial of Kamoli and others.
According to Mr Masoetsa, Mr Moleleki should also be joined to the treason charges as he allegedly plotted against the then government. He said the AD leader should also be charged with the 2016 murder of Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng which occurred while he was Police and Public Safety Minister in the seven parties’ government that was led by former DC leader, Pakalitha Mosisili. At the time, Mr Moleleki was also DC deputy leader. He jumped ship to form the AD in December 2016. This after falling out with the Mr Mosisili.
“Moleleki also has a lot to answer to just like Mochoboroane and Metsing. He has a case of high treason to answer to as well as PC Khetheng’s murder,” Mr Masoetsa said.
His allegations were however, dismissed by AD spokesperson, Thuso Litjobo. Mr Litjobo said the criminal allegations against his leader would not stand in any court of law hence why he had never been charged.
He said his party’s alliance with the Thabane faction ABC was “intact and far from ending”.
“No one can come between us. We have always had a cordial working relationship with the Thabane-led ABC and we intend to continue working together beyond the 2022 elections.
“We will continue working with them and all other parties that are interested because we still believe in a government of national unity,” said Mr Litjobo.