I made Matekane a millionaire: Moleleki

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  •  fire spitting AD leader says his party is not for sale even to millionaires like Matekane,
  • tears into “cowards” like Phamotse who dumped him for Matekane.

’Marafaele Mohloboli 

ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) leader Monyane Moleleki has sensationally claimed that he made businessman-turned politician, Sam Matekane, and 20 others millionaires.

Mr Moleleki said he made them “filthy rich” by awarding them government tenders during his long tenure as a cabinet minister.

But even with all their wealth, his AD was not for sale to Mr Matekane and his associates, Mr Moleleki charged before hundreds of party supporters at a rally early this week in Mekaling, Mohale’s Hoek.

He was speaking in the wake of last week’s high-profile defections of senior AD officials to the fledgling Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party which was formed late last month by Mr Matekane.

Some of the senior officials in the new party are prominent heavyweights who had generally shunned politics.

They include former Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) governor, Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane; former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara and Moshoeshoe Walk organiser, Thabo Maretlane. Former Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) head of investment promotion, Mokhethi Shelile, prominent businessman Lephema Lebona and former Accountant General, Sam Mphaka, are also part of Mr Matekane’s team.

Former Democratic Congress (DC) stalwart, Tlohang Sekhamane, is among those who have joined the RFP.

Probably the biggest exodus from an established party occurred last week when Mahali Phamotse and three other national executive committee (NEC) members ditched the AD for the RFP.

AD treasurer and former Development Planning Minister Tlohelang Aumane; deputy secretary general Batlokoa ‘Makong and former Deputy Minister of Health, ‘Manthabiseng Phohleli, also dumped the AD. Ms Phohleli was the AD women’s league president.  The Lesotho Times understands that former finance minister and AD member Leketekete Ketso has also joined the exodus to the RFP.

Before the defections, Mr Moleleki had been reluctant to attack Mr Matekane over his sudden entry into politics. If anything, he had been effusive in his praise for the business tycoon, describing him and his allies in the RFP as his “beloved friends”. He had even cautioned his followers against attacking the RFP like other parties were doing. He had also alluded to his desire to forge a post-election governing coalition with the RFP. He initially spoke glowingly about Dr Phamotse when she jumped ship, calling her “the best secretary general any party leader could ever wish for”.

But after more defections followed Dr Pamotse’s, Mr Moleleki has now changed his tune, seemingly frustrated by how the RFP threatens to completely unravel his party.

What is even more galling for Mr Moleleki is that Mr Matekane and other business people are seemingly ungrateful to him for all the lucrative tenders he claims to have awarded them during his long tenure in government which began in 1993.

Not even the icy weather conditions could stop him from venting his frustrations to AD supporters who gathered to hear him speak in Mekaling.

“During my time as Minister of Energy, I made more than 20 business people millionaires, including Sam Matekane himself,” Mr Moleleki said to cheers and ululations from the crowd, adding that all the people he had assisted appeared thankless.

Explaining her departure from the AD to join Mr Matekane, Dr Phamotse had said while her former party had sound policies, it was incapable of implementing them. She also described the AD as an impoverished outfit compared to Mr Matekane’s well-heeled RFP. AD spokesperson Thuso Litjobo subsequently alleged that she left the AD out of bitterness because she had failed in her scheme to try and convince the AD leadership to dissolve the party and merge it into the RFP.

Mr Moleleki alluded to all this on Sunday when he said, “if anyone of them tells you that they have money, tell them that this one (party) is not for sale. We in the AD should be like a worm burrowing into a maize stalk or into a potato to teach this person (presumably Matekane) a lesson. The AD is not for sale, not even to a filthy rich person even though there are those who have tried to sell it by lying to the world that it has been dissolved. Even if someone is a millionaire, they will not get to buy the AD because it belongs to the people. I know the people who founded this new party (RFP) very well and how they got there. We aren’t scared of anyone. You have all witnessed this party welcoming 105 new members into its fold, meaning that people are still joining this party in large numbers.”

In remarks seemingly directed at Dr Phamotse, Mr Moleleki said, “you are deceiving yourself if you think that by following someone who has money that person’s money will be yours.

“You must know that I made them (Matekane and others) millionaires by awarding them tenders to electrify every household in the country. I did this because when you are a minister you don’t have to be nepotistic and give jobs to your family or kids. But even if they have now become millionaires, that doesn’t mean we have to sell our party to them.”

The tough-talking Mr Moleleki further accused Dr Phamotse and other defectors of cowardice and spreading falsehoods about the AD.

“We are unshaken by their departure. This party isn’t for sale. It is not disbanding, rather it is growing. Nothing will stop us. We are forging ahead and next month, we will hold a rally in Matlakeng, the constituency of the most cowardly of them all (Phamotse). We will set the record straight about AD’s true state of affairs.”

He implored the remaining AD MPs not to betray the party in the same manner he claimed some All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislators had done by voting against the motion to oust Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro.

Dr Majoro last month survived a no confidence vote in parliament which would have seen him replaced by Nkaku Kabi, the leader of the ABC. The motion, which was sponsored by former ABC MP Tefo Mapesela, was supported by the AD and some ABC legislators. But the majority of ABC MPs as well as others from other parties including the Democratic Congress voted against it, in what Mr Moleleki views as an act of betrayal.

Mr Moleleki said ABC MPs who voted against the motion were most likely those in Dr Majoro’s cabinet who had “sold their votes for ministerial salaries”.

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