ABC to hold conference to spruce up manifesto

MASERU — The main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party will this weekend hold its annual general conference with the main business being to spruce up its 2012 election manifesto.

Party leader Thomas Thabane told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that the indaba to be held at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre will also finalise amendments to the ABC constitution.

“We have only two items on the agenda — finalising the amendments to our constitution as well as formulating the way forward with regard to the forthcoming national election,” Thabane said.

He said discussions would centre mainly around the party’s manifesto “which is ready to hit the streets”.

“The manifesto is ready but we want to run it past the conference so that amendments and contributions can be made before we launch it,” Thabane said.

He said the 2012 manifesto had borrowed heavily from that of the 2007 election because the issues were generally the same.

“It addresses similar issues to those of 2007, except for a few changes here and there. Our basic position remains constant,” Thabane said.

“Our position on other issues has changed, such as the current behaviour of the government. What we’ve done now is updating the manifesto based on the current political climate,” he added.

In its 2007 election manifesto the ABC pledged to fight rampant poverty in Lesotho if it was elected into power.

It also spoke about the need to create jobs, boost agriculture and preserve the chieftainship among Basotho.

Thabiso Lits’iba, the ABC secretary general, told this paper that the task team that had been mandated to formulate this year’s election manifesto will give an update of the work that had been done.

“Among other things, the committee tasked with preparing the ABC 2012 election manifesto will report back on progress made and what should be the way forward,” Lits’iba said.

Thabane, who was previously a communications minister in Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s government, resigned from the government when he formed the ABC with other disgruntled government officials in 2006.

The party was hugely popular in urban areas.

The ABC which was formed just four months before the 2007 general election gave the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party a fright at the polls when it won 17 mostly urban constituencies.

Thabane drew his biggest support from demonising Mosisili’s government accusing it of being corrupt and failing to improve service delivery.

But the ABC is now a shadow of its former self after bitter internal squabbles over positions and influence saw several of the party’s MPs defect to  form their own parties.

The MPs accused Thabane of exhibiting dictatorial tendencies, a charge he has denied.

An electoral alliance with the labour-backed Lesotho Workers Party, which seemed to give the ABC political clout, also collapsed due to a fall-out between Thabane and LWP leader Macaefa Billy.

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