MASERU — All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane has stopped short of telling high-profile members who defected from the opposition party to go hang.
About 40 ABC members recently defected to the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) accusing Thabane of being a dictator.
Thirteen ABC members including former women’s league chairperson, Mookho Mathibeli ditched the party to join the LCD on May 15.
Last Sunday about 30 party members defected to join the ruling party at a rally in Maputsoe.
But Thabane says he is not at all perturbed by the latest defections to rock his party.
Thabane said he is not worried that people who did not share his “vision” have left the party.
He said most of those who crossed to LCD were power-hungry people who had joined the ABC in search of plum positions.
“I am really not worried because they did not accept the new philosophy I am selling,” Thabane said in reference to concept of convention movements.
“We should all be relieved, both them and I. I am happy to remain with those who want to stay.”
He called the defectors “rebellious and power hungry” people from the congress movement.
He said they were “congress people who were still refusing to change with the times”.
He said they were still trapped in their old ideals of the liberation struggle against colonial rule.
Thabane said they were still concerned about defining people along congress or nationalist ideological divides.
“In their quest for political positions in their parties they defer to their historical background as freedom fighters not their strategies in the fight against poverty,” Thabane said.
He said these ideals were no longer relevant to the current situation in the country.
“They forget that today’s society sees no need to fight against oppression by the whites and they keep on flounting the wrong banner of fighting for freedom from colonial rule,” said Thabane.
“A Mosotho of today needs to have strategies in the fight against poverty, unemployment and sickness.”
“The congress movement was not meant to liberate people from the grips of poverty, although at later stage the BCP introduced socio-economic programmes but that was a long time ago and congress parties of today have shifted miles away from those programmes,” he said.
Thabane said the defectors had had a “superiority complex that led them to believe that ABC members were bound to elect them into leadership simply because they fought wars against colonialism”.
He called the defectors “rebels with no substance”.
Thabane said the defectors had joined the ABC because they had been rejected from their own parties.
He called them “rejects” that failed to win positions in their own parties.
“Now they were bringing the same mentality of activism into ABC.”
He said the defectors were so proud to have grown up in the congress movement that they could not adopt new ideas.
Thabane however admitted that the ABC was a victim of its composition because it was made up of disgruntled people from different political parties.
He insists that there is a broader political plan to destroy the ABC.
The recent defections are a perpetuation of the problems that have been haunting the party since its formation.
Lehlohonolo Ts’ehlana, the former ABC deputy secretary for publicity left the party late last year to form Senkatana Party.
He was joined by the Lithoteng constituency MP Eliabe Mokhanoi earlier this year.
Maputsoe MP, Nkhets’e Monyalotsa, also left the ABC in March to join the LCD.
The MPs accused Thabane of running the party like his “private property”.
Thabane however says they are simply rebellious and bitter that they could not get high positions.
Tsatsanyane and Mathibeli, in separate interviews, said they found it difficult to remain silent while Thabane violated the party constitution because they were used to the congress system where the constitution is sacrosanct.
“A member of any congress party knows well that without following the constitution there is no way the administration of the party can be smooth,” said Mathibeli.