ABC is finished: Mahao

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…former ABC deputy leader slams Majoro, Mokhothu for “failure of leadership”

’Marafaele Mohloboli

BASOTHO Action Party (BAP) leader, Nqosa Mahao, has accused Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and his deputy, Mathibeli Mokhothu, of dismally failing to provide leadership to address the challenges the country is facing including  rampant killings and endemic poverty.

Professor Mahao also accused Dr Majoro and Mr Mokhothu of pushing for the closure of parliament at a crucial time when legislators had to debate and approve an omnibus constitutional amendment bill which seeks to bring about a raft of changes aimed at creating stability in government.

Among other things, the bill sponsored by the National Reforms Authority (NRA), seeks to make it harder to remove a sitting prime minister by introducing a requirement for two thirds majority instead of the current simple majority vote for his removal. The bill also seeks to introduce two term limits for a premier.

However, the bill is unlikely to be debated any time soon following the closure of parliament for its annual Christmas break. Indications are that both the National Assembly and Senate will open in February next year and from that time until the end of April they will be seized with the national budget. This would then mean the earliest that the constitutional amendment bill and other parliamentary business can be discussed is May 2022.

This will be just a month shy of the end of the current parliament’s tenure before the next elections.

Prof Mahao, a former deputy leader of Dr Majoro’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) believes that Dr Majoro and his Democratic Congress (DC) coalition partner, Mr Mokhothu, are behind the closure of parliament at such a crucial time to avoid a no confidence vote against the government.

The no confidence motion was tabled by former ABC legislator, Tefo Mapesela, and it is likely to be supported by an ABC faction loyal to  party leader, Thomas Thabane, which is vehemently opposed to Dr Majoro. The premier succeeded Prof Mahao as ABC deputy leader after the latter dumped the party in April this year to form the BAP. Prof Mahao cited an alleged plot by Dr Majoro, Mr Thabane and secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, to expel him from the party  as his reason for dumping the ABC.

Addressing a rally in Matsieng early this week, Prof Mahao said, “our country is in trouble because of a leadership that came to power without any concrete plans and a vision”.

“Majoro and Mokhothu have run away and decided to close parliament after learning of the plans by some of their colleagues to pass a no confidence vote against them.

“We are in the middle of the reforms process and the constitutional amendment bill can only be passed by a two thirds majority in both the Senate and the National Assembly. Thereafter, there must be a cooling period of two months before a referendum is held to approve the bill after it has been voted upon in parliament. How will all this be possible when Majoro and Mokhothu have decided to close parliament and run away?

“We only have until 24 June 2022 before the tenure of the current parliament ends. When are we ever going to debate the bill sponsored by the National Reforms Authority when parliament is closed?

“We have heard that they will only open parliament in February 2022 just to work on the budget submissions. So, when will the reforms be deliberated on? This means that we might go for elections with an uneven playing field. This means we, as the BAP, may have to come in and see the reforms process to finality.”

Prof Mahao accused Dr Majoro and Mr Mokhothu of a “leadership deficit’, saying they had failed to take responsibility and act “yet week in, week out, there is a  new scandal happening in this country”.

“I am dead serious when I say this country is lost because it doesn’t have a leadership. Hence you see the endemic poverty and killings. People are dying like flies and our leaders are not taking any responsibility. Basotho must understand that they are being governed by two parties (ABC and DC) whose leaders have no vision. The BAP must work hard to win power in 2022.

“The ABC even wrote to us, inviting us to a government of national unity and we told them that we don’t want anything to do with this proposed GNU. We will only be in a government that has been given the mandate by the people. It seems the DC is not part of the government and they are only there for the state resources which they will use to buy votes in 2022.”

Prof Mahao, who fought a two-year-long war with Mr Thabane for control of the party, said the ABC was now finished due to the infighting. He warned his own party members against infighting lest the BAP goes the way of the ABC.

“Today the ABC is finished. The cause of its demise is infighting. We should desist from infighting and be different from all these other parties. We should demonstrate that we are a new party with new values and a different outlook. We should also take advantage of the ABC’s problems and lure its leaders into our party,” Prof Mahao said.

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