- MPs say Thabane has lost control of party and govt
TWENTY All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislators including one Senator have urged their leader Thomas Thabane to resign as Prime Minister with immediate effect because he has lost control of the government and his party.
The move comes four months after the same legislators petitioned Dr Thabane on the same issues.
The legislators on Monday also demanded that Dr Thabane reinstates the “expelled” the party’s deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, chairperson Samuel Rapapa and deputy spokesperson ‘Matebatso Doti. The quartet was “expelled” for alleged insubordination stemming from its decision to continue holding countrywide rallies despite Dr Thabane’s express orders not to do so.
In March this year, the same legislators petitioned Dr Thabane to use his powers as the party leader to facilitate a smooth transition of power from the outgoing NEC to the one that was elected early that same month.
The petitioners said at the time they were forced to turn to Dr Thabane after numerous failed attempts to hold an ABC parliamentary caucus to discuss the power struggle in the party.
“We as the undersigned members of the parliament and a senator (Mr Hlaele) are asking you to lead the processes of bringing stability to our party which is also the senior party in the coalition government,” the petition read.
“We are asking you to see to it that a new committee elected by ABC members assumes its duties under your leadership. We appeal that the decision by that conference be accepted by everyone.”
The March petition was written and signed by the 21 senior party officials that included the ABC parliamentary caucus chairman, Fako Moshoeshoe (Mabote legislator), incoming chairperson Mr Rapapa and the new secretary general Mr Hlaele.
Ms Doti, former Defence and National Security minister, Sentje Lebona and former Minister of Health, Nyapane Kaya also appended their signatures to the petition.
Other signatories were: Koro-Koro legislator Motebang Koma, Mphosi Nkhasi (Pela-Tšoeu constituency), Selemo Mangobe (Taung), Nto Moakhi (Maliba Matso), Tello Kibane (Peka), Mooki Sello (Bobatsi), Phamotse Molefi (Likhoele), Libe Motsoane (Mphosong), Thabo Sophonea (Thaba-Bosiu), Motlatsi Maqelepo (Berea), Mamoipone Senauoane (Thaba Tseka), Lefu Hlomelang (Makhoroana), Sotlehang Sekhamane (Maputsoe), Mankoe Maime (Maama) and Tlhobohela Mokoma (Mantsonyane).
And this week the same group except for Mr Maime has begged Dr Thabane to tender his resignation as an acknowledgement of his failure to lead the party and the government.
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Addressing a press conference on Monday, Mechachane legislator Mr Kaya said: “We urge him to step down as Prime Minister and hope that ABC members will decide on his status as the leader of the party”.
He said they were worried that Dr Thabane claimed to be unaware of the letters that he is purported to have signed “expelling” Prof Mahao, Mr Hlaele, Ms Doti and Mr Rapapa.
“We are worried about the way he has been handling the party and national issues lately. Just last week, he expelled some members of the new executive committee and later denied knowledge of it (the expulsion). This is a cause for worry as we wonder what else he could have signed without his knowledge.
“By virtue of him being the leader of the party, we want to think that he is still in control of the party. However, we are worried about the latest trend of forgetfulness. In one of the clips that went viral (on social media), Ntate Thabane denied knowledge of such (expulsion) letters. It confuses us whether or not he is in control. We wonder what else he could have appended his signature on.
“If we are to allow him go on like this, we will be doomed. The best way to save his face and that of the party is for him to resign as Prime Minister. We are now failing to answer the electorate when it asks about him.
He said they were going to push for the no confidence motion that has been tabled before the National Assembly when parliament eventually resumes sittings.
Parliament was early this month adjourned indefinitely amid widespread speculation that this was done to stave off a vote of no confidence against Dr Thabane by disgruntled members of his own ABC party and the opposition.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, a fortnight ago announced the indefinite closure of the august house but did not give reasons why it had been adjourned.
Before then, the ABC’s Koro-Koro constituency legislator, Motebang Koma, and the opposition Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader Selibe Mochoboroane had taken Mr Motanyane to task over his failure to announce that a no confidence motion against Dr Thabane had been filed in parliament.
And Mr Kaya said while there are problems in the ABC, there was more rot in the government.
“ABC problems are just a drop in the ocean. The truth of the matter is that there is so much maladministration in the government hence we are calling for Dr Thabane’s resignation,” he said.
Motlatsi Maqelepo, who is the legislator for the Berea constituency said instead of firing members of the NEC for insubordination, Dr Thabane should punish the constitutional committees who organised the rallies by the Mahao faction.
He said Prof Mahao and others were elected to resolve the party’s problems and their expulsion impedes the party’s developmental plans. He said if Dr Thabane does not re-instate the four members of the NEC within three days, then they would approach the courts to expedite the opening of parliament to ensure that he is ousted through a no confidence vote.