ABC picks Rapapa for PM: Mahao

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, says the party’s national executive committee (NEC) has decided on a candidate to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and the decision is final.

Prof Mahao said this while addressing a weekend rally in Makhoroana, Maseru. Although he did not name the candidate on Sunday, he subsequently told the Lesotho Times that the ABC’s NEC had chosen party chairperson Samuel Rapapa to succeed Dr Thabane who said he will be stepping down at the end of July this year.

“The NEC nominated Mr Rapapa to succeed the prime minister (Dr Thabane),” Prof Mahao said in a brief interview with this publication yesterday.

On Sunday, he told ABC supporters that the NEC had agreed on Dr Thabane’s successor and the next step was to inform the ABC’s coalition partners and thereafter, inform the speaker of the national assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, who would in turn inform of the Council of State whose task is to advise His Majesty King Letsie III before the latter can appoint the next premier.

“There is a rumour that the NEC is failing to administer the affairs of the party so much such that we have failed to appoint a person to take over from the leader (Dr Thabane) but that is not true,” Prof Mahao told the party supporters.

“Do not believe any of that. The NEC has agreed on the successor but we cannot reveal their identity because we are yet to inform the ABC legislators and our coalition partners. The decision has been taken and there are not going to be any arguments about that. What is left is for the installation (of the candidate as prime minister).”

The ‘Makhoroana constituency currently has no member of parliament after the death of ABC legislator, Lefu Hlomelang, in November, 2019.

Prof Mahao said the rally was necessary to reenergise the party supporters. He added that in the event of a by-election they should ensure the ABC retained the seat as losing would not be the best way of honouring the late Mr Hlomelang.

“We are here to revive your spirits because we are facing a by-election. Do not give away this constituency to another party because that would be dishonouring the memory of Comrade Hlomelang.

“In the 2017 election we won the constituency by 3000 votes. We had 1 300 more seats ahead of the next party. We have to retain the constituency and if we lose it, we will only have our feuds to blame. History will not forgive us,” Prof Mahao said.

The ABC is in a four-party coalition with the Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

He said the ABC’s NEC had even sought the assistance of its coalition partners to win back the ‘Makhoroana constituency.

“Last week we tasked the coalition partners’ secretary generals to strategise on how that (winning back the ‘Makhoroana constituency) can be achieved. That strategy will then be scrutinised by the coalition leaders who then will assemble all the cabinet ministers to show them how they will implement such strategies to bring developments.

“We all know about the bad conditions of your roads. The majority of Makhoroana people are facing starvation due to adverse climatic conditions and we also know that most of you were impacted by the wool and mohair debacle. All these problems need an immediate solution,” Prof Mahao said.

He said it was important for the party to guard against slipping back into the infighting which became the order of the day after the highly disputed February 2019 elective conference which ushered him into the NEC ahead of seasoned party stalwarts like former chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe and Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro.

“Our enemies wish in their hearts that we do not find peace and reconciliation in the ABC. They wish there could be cracks within our party where they could exploit. We should not give them the satisfaction.

“We cannot go back to where we were with the infighting. We have to work hard for our reconciliation and we have to remember that peace and stability do not fall from heaven. We have to toil for them. We should watch our mouths as we speak. There are (voice) clips making rounds whose purpose is to propagate mistrust within the party,” he said.

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