MASERU — Former Water Affairs Minister, Timothy Thahane, has refuted allegations that he was planning to defect from his party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), to join either the All Basotho Convention (ABC) or the Democratic Congress (DC), after he was fired from cabinet.
Serialong Qoo, a DC Member of Parliament for the Malingoaneng constituency, had told the media last week that the embattled Thahane was on the verge of leaving the LCD.
Led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, the LCD is a partner in the coalition government with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s ABC and Sports Minister Thesele Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP).
Thahane, a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Likhetlane constituency, told the Lesotho Times this week that the fact that he no longer had cabinet responsibilities actually meant that he would now direct all his energies more towards fulfilling the aspirations of his constituents.
“I have been voted by the people from LCD in this constituency and there is no way that I would just defect without a mandate from them”, he said in an interview, further rubbishing allegations by the opposition DC.
The latest cabinet member to be fired by Thabane, Thahane preferred not to address issues surrounding his departure from cabinet.
Thahane, who is facing charges of corruption instituted by the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences, scurried past the issue of his court case which resulted in him losing his position in Cabinet.
He lost his Cabinet post after his brief appearance before the Maseru Magistrate Court on two counts of fraud relating to the block farming scheme and another matter in which he is charged with fraud and bribery relating to a wool and mohair development project.
Thahane had earlier told a rally in his constituency last Sunday that he was glad the long-standing allegations levelled against him had seen their day in court, a development which gave him the chance to clear his name.
“I am glad that the matter is in court and I am looking forward to seeing it being speedily dealt with for the sake of justice”, Thahane told the gathering.
Metsing, as LCD’s leader in the coalition government, broke the news of Thahane’s firing earlier this month.
The former minister told his constituents that he had served as finance minister in the Pakalitha Mosisili-led administration “as selflessly as I could”, adding that more than 56 clinics countrywide were improved through the American government financed Millennium Challenge Corporation, during his tenure as Minister of Finance in 2008.
Thahane was flanked by his family (wife and son) as well as his former fellow ministers and members of the LCD executive committee; Selibe Mochoboroane, Keketso Rantšo and Khotso Matla.
Rantšo, who is both the LCD’s Secretary-General and Transport Minister, said she was glad that Thahane had returned to the people whose mandate he was advancing in parliament.
She said Thahane was sent to the august house, not as a minister but as MP, to address the needs of his people.
Rantšo paid tribute to him for braving the allegations levelled against him for a long time and going all the way to win the constituency.
She said every member of the party’s executive committee from the leader Metsing was fully behind Thahane.
“The LCD leadership has discussed the status quo and subsequently assured Ntate Thahane of our undying support even as he goes though the legal processes”, Rantšo said.
He urged fellow ministers and party members to be vigilant as no one was immune from the long hand of the law.
“We all have to be vigilant because today it might be him (Thahane) who is hauled before the courts but tomorrow it could be any of us”, she added.
She encouraged the members of the constituency to continually rally behind Thahane further assuring them that his case would hopefully be concluded within the current financial year ending March 2014.