- claims he never resigned from ABC treasurer’s post,
- accuses Hlaele, Masoetsa of plotting his ouster from the party.
SENIOR All Basotho Convention (ABC) member, Tlali Mohapi, has rubbished reports of his resignation from the treasurer’s post.
He says he was surprised to receive party leader, Thomas Thabane’s letter wherein the latter accepted his resignation from the post. He insists he never resigned. He has instead accused secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, and spokesperson, Montoeli Masoetsa, of plotting his ouster from the party.
He says the duo wants him out to prevent him from probing the possible mismanagement of party funds.
Mr Mohapi doubles up as Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s private secretary. Dr Majoro is among the top ABC officials jostling to succeed Mr Thabane. The latter is hellbent on clinging to the top party post. Party insiders say Mr Mohapi’s fights with Messrs Hlaele and Masoetsa are part of the wider factional fights pitting Mr Thabane against Dr Majoro and others who are angling to replace him.
Messrs Hlaele and Masoetsa are said to be fighting in Mr Thabane’s corner.
So vicious is the infighting that Mr Mohapi was denied entry into a weekend meeting between the NEC and the party’s legislators from the Berea district.
The meeting was held on Sunday at Berea High School.
Mr Thabane and Dr Majoro attended the meeting along with Messrs Hlaele and Masoetsa, chairperson Samuel Rapapa, deputy chairperson Chalane Phori, deputy secretary general Nkaku Kabi, minutes secretary Likhapha Masupha and women’s league president, Malelaka Malakabe.
Also, in attendance were former secretary general, Samonyane Ntsekele, and former deputy leader, Prince Maliehe. The two are staunch Thabane loyalists. They lost their former posts at the ABC’s February 2019 elective conference but they were this year appointed by Mr Thabane into the ABC’s working committee in a move seen as an attempt to neutralise people like Dr Majoro and Mr Rapapa who are all angling for the top party post. Messrs Phori and Hlaele are also backing Mr Thabane while Messrs Mohapi, Kabi as well as Ms Masupha and Ms Malakabe are said to be behind Dr Majoro in his quest to wrest the leadership.
Mr Mohapi narrated his version of the weekend events in Berea to a local radio station this week.
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He said he had hoped to attend the meeting along with other party officials but he was denied entry by four heavily armed men who said they were acting on the instructions of their leader. They did not say who their leader was.
Mr Mohapi said they denied him entry on the grounds that he had resigned from his post as ABC treasurer and had become an ordinary card-carrying member of the party.
He however, denies resigning. This is despite Mr Thabane and other party officials’ insistence that he resigned over a fortnight ago after being confronted over his repeated failure to perform his duties.
Mr Masoetsa told the Lesotho Times last week that Mr Mohapi had indicated that he was resigning in frustration over the previous NEC’s failure to hand over audited financial records to him.
But in his 21 October 2021 letter purportedly accepting Mr Mohapi’s resignation, Mr Thabane accused the former of failing to perform his duties.
Mr Mohapi confirmed receiving Mr Thabane’s letter but denied ever resigning. He instead accused Messrs Hlaele and Masoetsa of fabricating the issue and pushing for his ouster from the party to prevent him from investigating the alleged mismanagement of party funds.
He said things got heated up in Berea that he and Mr Kabi even attempted to push aside the heavily armed officers to enable him to gain entry into the meeting.
“There were four heavily armed men at the door who looked like they were going to war. They said their boss had told them that I had no right to enter the meeting. They said I had been given a letter of dismissal from the party. I told them that this was not true but they insisted that their boss had instructed them to deny me entry.
“I called my fellow NEC members. I even called the secretary general (Hlaele) and his deputy (Kabi). The secretary general didn’t come. His deputy came to the door and instructed them to let me in. We even attempted to push them aside but they refused to budge,” Mr Mohapi said on Radio 357 FM.
Mr Mohapi said on 22 October, he received Mr Thabane’s letter indicating that the latter had accepted his resignation on behalf of the entire NEC. He said he had already seen the letter circulating on social media the previous day.
But he never resigned, he said.
“The gist of the matter is that some people in the previous NEC mismanaged party funds. I even prepared a situational report when we first entered office in August 2020, indicating that there was mismanagement of funds. I also indicated that those who were legally supposed to sign for party funds were not doing so and people who were not entitled to do so were now the signatories instead. These included the secretary general (Hlaele), former deputy leader (Nqosa Mahao) who is now with the BAP (Basotho Action Party) and another former member, ‘Mamoipone Senauoane. It appears they are still signatories at FNB and Nedbank.
“This is why I said there is a serious issue which requires a forensic audit. That issue is deep and the question is: who has mandated the secretary general (Hlaele) to be dealing with party funds even now? Kobotata (ABC) members must know who mandated the honourables Hlaele, Mahao and Senauoane to deal with party funds.
“I must make you aware that there is a Kobotata investment with FNB Lesotho which I got to know about from the secretary general and it looks like that the investment should have matured by August this year. It looks like my investigation into these issues have torched a hot oven,” Mr Mohapi said.
He accused Mr Masoetsa of being influenced by Mr Hlaele to lie to the public.
“There is a man called the spokesperson who dances for the audience under the influence of the secretary general because they are in the same camp in these issues,” Mr Mohapi said.
Contacted for comment, Mr Masoetsa insisted that Mr Mohapi had resigned.
“That person is no longer ABC treasurer and will never again be an NEC member,” Mr Masoetsa said. He also denied that he was Mr Hlaele’s lapdog.
Mr Hlaele also denied using Mr Masoetsa to fight his battles, saying the latter spoke on party issues in his capacity as spokesperson “not under my influence”.
He also insisted that Mr Mohapi had resigned and the latter was free to appeal to the party’s conference whenever it would be held if he felt he was being victimised.
He accused Mr Mohapi of giving an impression that Mr Thabane no longer had a mind of his own and he was being used by others in the party.
“He (Mohapi) and others are projecting the view that Ntate Thabane is stupid and does not have a mind of his own That is not the case. He raised issues about Mahao and Senauoane and we told him that we were forced to include them as signatories during the time of our infighting after the 2019 elective conference.
“However, after our leader united us, Mahao and Senauoane ceased to be signatories until they left the party. Masenauoane never signed a single cheque of Kobotata. Only Ntate Mahao signed at the time we were fighting. He (Mohapi) is not the telling the truth when he says he presented a situational report in the NEC,” Mr Hlaele said.
Ms Senauoane also rubbished Mr Mohapi’s allegations, saying she did not even the banks which held ABC funds.
“I never signed for ABC funds at any bank. The truth of the matter is that I was coopted into the ABC’s NEC as a treasurer to fill the vacant position during the infighting but I never signed for a single cheque of the ABC,” Ms Senauoane said.
Prof Mahao said there was nothing to talk about with this reporter.