MOHALE’S HOEK — All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Thomas Thabane, last Sunday appealed to church leaders mediating in the proportional representation seats issue to be neutral.
“I urge church leaders facilitating dialogue on the proportional representation issue to be neutral and refrain from discriminating against political parties,” Thabane told party supporters.
Retired Anglican bishop, Phillip Mokuku, is leading talks between opposition parties and the government of Lesotho.
The talks, which began two months ago, are being facilitated by the Lesotho Council of Churches.
Thabane said church leaders should follow in the foot-steps of early missionaries brought into the country by the founder of the Basotho nation, Moshoeshoe I.
“I urge you to be like Moshoeshoe’s priests, who had the best interests of every Mosotho at heart,” Thabane said.
Thabane said church leaders seemed to have forgotten their duty to society “by allowing politics to infiltrate into their work”.
“Church leaders seem to have forgotten that they have a responsibility towards society. They have allowed politics to dominate their work,” Thabane said.
Thabane said it was time men and women of the cloth changed their conduct “because if they don’t, we will encourage people to boycott churches”.
Thabane said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had entered into a “conspiracy with the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)”.
Instead of doing its job, Thabane said the electoral commission was working towards being the government’s advocates.
Thabane: “They seem to have established a rather lethal relationship. But the IEC should know that its mandate is not to help the LCD,” Thabane said.
Contacted for comment government spokesman Mothetjoa Metsing dismissed as unfortunate Thabane’s remarks on the role of the church.
“We should have confidence in our church leaders and refrain from (suggesting) that they might be influenced.”
Metsing said the government had taken a position that “as leaders we should not pre-empt the outcome of the talks”.
Metsing said church leaders were only facilitating talks between the government and the opposition and that the final decision will be reached by the parties.
“The church leaders’ role is to facilitate talks. Their final assessment of the situation will not necessarily be the conclusion. Binding decisions will be reached by the government and the opposition,” Metsing said.
Metsing appealed to opposition leaders to refrain from making statements “which put into question the integrity of our church leaders”.