FORMER Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has told his Democratic Congress (DC) party supporters to prepare for fresh elections, saying this time they must vote in large numbers to reverse the party’s defeat in last year’s polls.
Dr Mosisili said this while addressing thousands of DC supporters at a Sunday rally at Pitso House in the Butha-Buthe district on Sunday.
Dr Mosisili was at the helm of the seven party coalition whose term of office prematurely ended after it lost the 3 June 2017 snap polls that were held after he and his government lost a parliamentary motion of no confidence on 1 March 2017. Dr Mosisili’s administration had only been in charge for two years and its tenure had been scheduled to end in 2020.
Lesotho has experienced perennial political instability which has seen three governments in the space of five years from 2012 to 2017.
And on Sunday, Dr Mosisili alluded to a continuation of the instability, telling his supporters to go back to their constituencies to start mobilising for imminent polls.
“Go to your respective constituencies and start recruiting masses into the fold and build unity amongst yourselves,” Dr Mosisili said, adding, “I smell elections”.
“We all know that losing in the elections was not easy for us such that some of you even considered defecting to rival parties. We wouldn’t be in this situation (of being in the opposition) today had it not been for some of you who failed to heed to our plea to vote for the congress parties.”
Dr Mosisili did not say why he believed the elections would be held soon.
However, the DC deputy leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, yesterday told the Lesotho Times that they believed that elections were imminent because there was infighting within the governing parties and this was happening at time when the government was battling to control widespread restlessness in the populace over poor service delivery and a poor economy.
“With the dissatisfaction across all sectors of the populace on issues of service delivery, the disintegration within the parties that comprise the coalition, speaks volumes that they are not stable and this says that they are falling apart.
“Besides that, the infighting within the parties is a clear indication that durability of this government is a far-fetched idea. There are clear signs the government is headed for a collapse,” Mr Mokhothu said.
Dr Mosisili accused the Thomas Thabane administration of misrule in the one year that it has been in power.
He said although Dr Thabane had accused the previous regime of corruption, his (Dr Thabane’s government) was actually “worse (in terms of corruption)”.
“They are even politicising the public service hence the appointment of Pheello Ralenkoane as the Director of the National Security Service despite his political affiliation.
“He (Ralenkoane) is a known politician who even contested the elections under the Basotho National Party (BNP) flag. And this is not just him (Ralenkoane) but also some principal secretaries. They appointed all these politicians and yet they have the audacity to expel officers hired by the NSS just because they we said to be in the opposition.”
Dr Mosisili also accused the government of corruption in the award of tenders for the catering for His Majesty King Letsie III’s 55th birthday celebrations last month.
He said the cost of feeding each of the 200 guests at M2 070 per person was a clear sign of corruptly inflated costs which could not be justified “anywhere on earth”.
“This again says we should accept that bad voting brings us bitter fruits. This government is as corrupt as they once accused us. This is why we even have the BNP leader (Thesele Maseribane) being accused of corruption for helping a British tycoon to secure him a mining licence,” Dr Mosisili said. This was in reference to the recent controversy where Chief Maseribane stands accused of receiving payments to help facilitate the award of a diamond mining licence to British businessman, Aaron Banks during the first government of Dr Thabane from 2012 to 2015.
Dr Mosisili further accused the government of unwarranted attacks on the judiciary and interfering with its independence instead of protecting it.
This was in reference to the ongoing efforts by Dr Thabane to have Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara impeached for alleged misconduct.
The misconduct charges include Justice Majara’s alleged failure to ensure the timeous delivery of justice as well as her controversial M27 000 per month housing deal which is way above the authorised limit of M4000.
“The sole mandate of the executive is to protect the judiciary and make ensure that it discharges its duties without fear or favour. This is the first government where a whole Prime Minister and minister attack the Chief Justice.
“We worked harmoniously with her (Justice Majara). Right now she is vulnerable and doesn’t know what to do. She is now being attacked but she is also appointing judges to protect herself. Your bad choice in the last elections has brought us bad governance. Bad governments make bad decisions like the attacks on the judiciary.”
Dr Mosisili also accused the premier of failing to rein on his wife after she was involved in a physical altercation with a Ha Tšolo (Maseru) woman at Maseru Private Hospital a fortnight ago.
“The least that this old man (Dr Thabane) could have done would have been to rebuke her but he just kept mum and this shows us that he is afraid of this kid (First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane).
Dr Mosisili also questioned the logic behind the new wool and mohair regulations which state that no one will be allowed to trade in wool and mohair without a licence from the Ministry of Small Business, Cooperatives and Marketing.
The regulations further state that “the holder of an export license shall not export wool and mohair unless it is prepared, brokered, traded and auctioned in Lesotho”.
Dr Mosisili said local framers should be allowed to freely sell their wool and mohair to whoever they wanted to sell it to.