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ABC, DC form alliance

by Lesotho Times
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’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE incoming deputy leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Professor Nqosa Mahao, has forged an alliance with the Democratic Congress (DC) in parliament to weaken the government.

This was said by Prof Mahao during his rally at the Qoaling Flowers Football Grounds on Sunday.

The pronouncements come after a parliamentary no confidence motion was filed against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last week.

The motion was filed by All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator for Koro-Koro constituency, Motebang Koma. It was immediately seconded by the Democratic Congress (DC)’s 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.

Prof Mahao clinched the deputy leader’s post at the ABC’s 1-2 February 2019 elective conference which also saw Mr Rapapa coming in as chairperson and Dr Thabane’s son-in-law, Lebohang Hlaele winning the post of secretary general.

But four months later, Prof Mahao and his colleagues have still not been allowed into office by the old NEC, fronted by its Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele.

Dr Thabane two weeks ago said he did not even consider Prof Mahao a member of the ABC. There was therefore no way he should be parachuted to the second most powerful party post ahead of seasoned ABC stalwarts, the premier charged.

However, Prof Mahao appears to be gaining ground in the fight to lead the ABC after the Court of Appeal trashed a judgment by Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase nullifying his election.

Prof Mahao and his colleagues yesterday also won the long-drawn out battle for the control of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).

This follows the dismissal of three prominent ABC legislators’ High Court application for the nullification of their election into the party’s national executive committee (NEC) at the ABC’s 1-2 February 2019 elective conference.

Prominent ABC legislators, Habofanoe Lehana (Khafung constituency), Keketso Sello (Hlotse) and Mohapi Mohapinyane (Rothe) filed a court application seeking the nullification of the election of Prof Mahao and others on the grounds that the polls were marred by gross irregularities including massive vote rigging.

However the High Court bench comprising of Justices Thamsanqa Nomngcongo (presiding judge), Moroke Mokhesi and Sakoane Sakoane yesterday dismissed the trio’s application on the grounds that the alleged vote rigging would not have changed the outcome of the elections.

And on Sunday Prof Mahao said after lengthy talks with the DC, they have agreed to work together.

“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 have proposed to one another and have agreed to work together,” Prof Mahao said.

He said since the recent filing of the motion of no confidence in Dr Thabane, he has been ridiculed for being in cahoots with his brother’s killers and has been labelled a demagogue. Prof Mahao’s younger brother, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, was shot and killed by the army during the tenure of the former DC leader, Pakhalitha Mosisili.

“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 in politics, I am only controlled by what is right. I always do the right thing at the right time.

“Talks between the two parties started last year when ABC’s leadership approached that of the DC to be part of the government and they continued until now.

“What’s important for us is to free our country from this stagnation. Right now there is no administration in the government, 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 said.

He also appealed to all the leaders of various government institutions to show professionalism when going about their responsibilities.

Prof Mahao also blasted the police for revoking the permit for his party’s Qoaling rally after the officer responsible had allegedly been promised that his contract of employment would be extended after it lapses on 21 June 2019.

He also ripped into the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament for “appeasing their appointing authorities” by allegedly delaying to file the motion of no confidence in Dr Thabane. He said while the motion was supposed to be tabled before parliament a day after it was filed, it had been delayed.

He appealed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane and his deputy, Teboho Lehloenya to allow the tabling of the motion as it is done in the well of the august house and not in their offices.

“I am appealing to those two speakers to allow the tabling of the motion in parliament and not keep it in their offices and stop asking Members of Parliament append their names 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.

Parliament was however, adjourned indefinitely this week amid widespread speculation that this was done to stave off the vote of no confidence against Dr Thabane.

Mr Motanyane, on Monday announced the indefinite closure of the august house but did not give reasons why it had been adjourned.

Contacted for comment, DC deputy leader Mr Motlalentoa Letsosa confirmed that they have a working arrangement of voting in parliament with the new ABC NEC.

“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.

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