BUTHA-BUTHE — Outspoken All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator, Nyapane Kaya, has refuted allegations that he is on the verge of joining the Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
The Mechachane Constituency legislator spoke to the Lesotho Times on the sidelines of an ABC rally in the Butha-Buthe constituency on Sunday after he was spotted standing in the crowd with ordinary party members wearing ABC regalia and a blue and white cap bearing a Ministry of Home Affairs logo.
Mr Kaya’s comments come on the back of speculation that he was on the verge of deserting the ABC for the MEC.
Mr Kaya was in February this year relieved of his Health Minister post by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane having served from the inception of the ruling coalition in June last year.
Four months ago, Mr Kaya attacked the ABC-led coalition government for reneging on its promises to uproot corruption.
He told this publication that he was “frustrated that the government which was elected into power for its promises to uproot corruption is no longer practicing what it preached”.
He said that it would not be easy to eliminate corruption because of what he described as the many hypocrites in the government. Mr Kaya said he was not afraid of any consequences or disciplinary action from his party.
He vowed he would continue speaking out against the failures of his party and the government. He rejected any suggestions that he was sulking after he was fired from his post in a cabinet reshuffle in February 2018. He said his firing from his ministerial post had in fact freed him to serve his country more. Mr Kaya said he was speaking because he genuinely believed that his party and its coalition partners had reneged on their promises to rid Lesotho of corruption.
And on Sunday, Mr Kaya said that he was in the ABC to stay and he was working hard to ensure that the party retraces its steps to its founding principles of fighting corruption and delivering services.
“It has never come to my mind to leave ABC,” Mr Kaya said.
“I have never thought of leaving ABC. People should not confuse the understanding that seems to be there between me and the MEC leader (Selibe Mochoboroane) as an indication that I am defecting to MEC.
“I have to say that he (Mr Mochoboroane) has never even hinted that he would want me to join him and the best I know is that every time we talk, we talk about the country and not so much about the party politics. I am not going to MEC.”
Mr Kaya also spoke about the ongoing fights in the ABC and said says he has previously seen similar situations obtaining in his former party, the Basotho Congress Party (BCP).
“I was in the BCP and I watched with pain when things derailed from the necessary path in the BCP and I see similar signs today in the ABC,” Mr Kaya said.
He said he was not going to sit down and watch with folded arms as his party derails from its founding principles. Mr Kaya said he would work with the electorate to help the ABC find its path by ensuring the party retains Mechachane constituency in the next elections.
“My mission right now is to work hard within the ABC to ensure that ABC does not meet the similar fate as the BCP because that is the party (BCP) that introduced me to the politics. The BCP that talked about people coming together, (establishing) self-help (programmes) and all that and ABC came with almost the same concept when it comes to meeting our livelihoods and I now wouldn’t want to see the ABC facing the similar fate that BCP faced,” Mr Kaya said.
He said he was working hard in his constituency to grow the following of the ABC.
“I am working very hard. I would not probably make noise that I am working very hard but if anyone wants to understand how much I am working, they should go to my constituency to see for themselves. I am working very hard to ensure that ABC grows and also to ensure that the party keeps its line of political philosophy and that is exactly what I am doing in my constituency right now because as I said I would not want ABC facing the similar face as the BCP.”
Asked why he was not seating with his fellow peers at the Very Important People (VIP) section, Mr Kaya said that he recently found himself identifying with the ordinary, saying it was the only way he would fully understand problems on the ground.
“Of late I find myself identifying with the ordinary people and at the same time, I don’t want to give an impression that on that particular day at Quthing (ABC sabbatical conference on 25 August 2018) I was among the people simply because I wanted to insinuate something. I sat with the ordinary members on that day because I wanted to be with my people and it has happened even today and no matter the situation, I will still be with my people and I think basically those are the two reasons you spotted me amongst the crowd,” Mr Kaya said.
Asked if he sat with the crowd because he was unhappy within the ABC, the former Minister of Health said his resolve to sit and stand with the ordinary members at the party functions was inspired by a quest to fully appreciate problems facing the country.
He said that legislators and other leaders could only be in a position to fully comprehend problems on the ground if they identified with the people. He said he would work hard to ensure that he does not fall prey to the syndrome of leaders who only identify with their followers during election time.
“It is not really that (I am not happy within the ABC) but that more and more, even in the constituency, I want to be with the people and among the ordinary people. With the problems that are facing the ABC and the country, I think when a leader is among the people that is when he or she really appreciates the real depth and breadth of their problems.
“I am aware that time is fast moving and the promises we made during the elections have not been fulfilled and as such I don’t want to identify with the elite who to a large extent, some of them, do not seem to be close to understanding and caring about the problems that are facing the people,” Mr Kaya said.
He said that they were faced with serious incidences of corruption and complaints of poor service delivery.
“Individually I felt that I needed to identify more with my people and where possible, come up with my own programmes to assist my people to ensure that they are happy that they voted me into parliament,” he said.
Mr Kaya served as Minister of Health at the inception of the Thomas Thabane-led four party coalition government in June 2017 until he was axed in a cabinet reshuffle in February 2018.
He is the second senior ABC member to suggest the ABC had deviated from its electoral promises after the suspended party’s chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe, launched a blistering attack on First Lady Maesaiah Thabane accusing her of exerting undue interference in party and government affairs.
Mr Maliehe accused Ms Thabane of violating the constitution and “abetting corruption” by instigating the removal of ministers who refused to comply with her demands.
Incidentally, Mr Kaya was named by Mr Maliehe as the minister who was removed from his post at the First Lady’s instigation after he (Mr Kaya) refused to unlawfully award the ministry’s laundry and catering tenders to Ms Thabane’s preferred candidates.
Mr Maliehe, who has since been suspended as party chairperson for his attacks on Ms Thabane, has indicated that he has nothing to fear and insisted that he stands by all his comments.
Similarly, Mr Kaya told this publication that he was “not scared at all” and he would continue to speak out and fight corruption regardless of the status of the person committing or condoning it. Mr Kaya was first linked to joining the Democratic Congress (DC), allegations he said were “just a smear campaign orchestrated by those who think that people like me should not speak up against corruption”.