Home News Kabi asks Majoro to quit now

Kabi asks Majoro to quit now

by Lesotho Times
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  • Moleleki and others support the call

’Marafaele Mohloboli

NEWLY-ELECTED All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi, has dramatically changed his stance and asked Moeketsi Majoro to immediately step down as prime minister to enable him to take over.

Mr Kabi said his victory over Dr Majoro at last month’s ABC leadership contest was a clear sign that the rank and file of the ruling party wanted him, not the latter to be prime minister.

He said it only made sense for Dr Majoro to step down now and allow him to take over the reins and ensure that the party goes for elections in September with its leader having the benefit of incumbency.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Dr Majoro’s press attaché, Buta Moseme, said “People have the right to talk and what they have said is not new. They are in the political arena. But the prime minister remains steadfast in carrying out his mandate to lead the country. When the time comes for him to step down legally, he will do so. Having said that, the premier respects the views and opinions that have been raised.”

Mr Kabi’s latest call is a dramatic shift from his recent posture in which he had publicly supported Dr Majoro to remain in power until the elections, due anytime from September.  It is also likely to cast him as a flip flopper.

Addressing a well-attended homecoming rally in his Qeme, Maseru constituency, Mr Kabi made it categorically clear that he wanted to become prime minister immediately.  He had also made a similar demand soon after his election last month before he backtracked and vowed to work with Dr Majoro until the elections.

Dr Majoro has doggedly refused to quit ever since the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) recalled him on 2 December 2021.

Announcing the recall decision at the time, ABC spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa said the party had decided to recall Dr Majoro following an outcry by grassroots members and the public over a plethora of issues including poor service delivery and the premier’s alleged failure to stop the high murder rates in the country over the course of his 19 months in power.  He said the party had resolved to replace him with Mr Kabi.

However, Dr Majoro refused to resign and make way for Mr Kabi, saying prime ministers are only removed through a no confidence vote in parliament and not by political parties.

The ABC’s initial reaction was to invite all political parties represented in parliament to a meeting to discuss the formation of a government of national unity (GNU) to replace Dr Majoro’s administration.

The proposed GNU meeting had initially been slated for 15 December 2021 at the AME Hall in Maseru. However, it had to be aborted after two of Dr Majoro’s loyalists, Keketso Lepheane and Tlali Mohapi, obtained a last-minute interim Constitutional Court order to stop it pending the finalisation of their application to permanently halt it from proceeding because it allegedly violated the constitution.

The duo had argued that the proposed GNU meeting was “treasonous” as it had been convened to “illegally” oust the prime minister.

However, the Constitutional Court bench comprising of Justices Molefi Makara, Keketso Moahloli and Fumane Khabo subsequently issued a final judgement dismissing Messrs Lepheane and Mohapi’s bid to permanently stop the meeting. The bench ruled that their fears that the political parties would engage in treasonous conduct “lacked merit.”

Despite the court victory, the NEC abandoned the GNU plans as it had already emerged that they did not have enough support to oust the Majoro administration. Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC) and Professor Nqosa Mahao’s Basotho Action Party (BAP) both came out in opposition to the GNU, saying it was merely a selfish ploy by the Thabane faction to help it win its factional wars at the expense of the national interest.

Faced with the lack of support from other parties, the ABC had then decided to resolve the issue by holding a special conference to deal with the Majoro issue. But the party’s leader Thomas Thabane immediately bolted to announce that he was retiring from his position. This then created an opportunity for the anti Majoro forces to rally behind Mr Kabi at the 28 and 29 January special conference where he polled 723 votes to Dr Majoro’s 609 to win the party leadership post.  The NEC had somehow imagined Mr Kabi’s victory would make it much easier to oust Dr Majoro since the latter was now expected to voluntarily quit in the wake of the loss.

But the prime minister dug in. He insisted the ABC elections were only meant to choose a new party leader and not a prime minister. The election and ouster of a prime minister was the sole prerogative of legislators and not political parties, he said. Dr Majoro only decided to quit as ABC deputy leader and from the party’s NEC.

No amount of cajoling and threats have thus far sufficed to make Dr Majoro make way for Mr Kabi at State House.

A few days after the elections the two appeared alongside each other and presented a show of unity with Mr Kabi saying he was willing to accept that Dr Majoro would continue as prime minister until the end of his term when His Majesty, King Letsie III dissolves parliament to pave way for the elections which are due anytime from September this year.

But behind the scenes, Mr Kabi was doing all he can including meeting with DC leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mokhothu to plead with him to support the ABC’s push to oust Dr Majoro in parliament.

All the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres have failed, prompting Mr Kabi to issue the weekend public plea to Dr Majoro to step down and allow him to take over, notwithstanding that this is a reversal from his previous public posture supporting the prime minister.

Before his speech, former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki had taken to the podium and implored Dr Majoro to make way for Mr Kabi. Mr Moleleki, who leads the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD), was one of opposition party leaders who graced the rally alongside former ABC legislator, Tefo Mapesela of the Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP) and Democratic Party of Lesotho (DPL) leader, Limpho Tau.

Mr Kabi supported Mr Moleleki’s comments and asked Dr Majoro to step down and let him take over without further ado.

He said the ABC now had two centres of power due to Dr Majoro’s insistence on clinging on. He said when he went to parliament, he could not take his rightful seat because it was still being occupied by Dr Majoro. This had placed ABC MPs between a rock and a hard place because they had to choose who to give their allegiance to, Mr Kabi said.

“When we were at Lesotho High School (for the ABC leadership elections last month), you voted for me to lead your party,” Mr Kabi said.

“The message you relayed was that the ABC, as the party with the majority in parliament, should go for elections in September with a clear vision of what it wants to achieve beyond 2022. We are in a very delicate situation because we have had our infighting and I acknowledge the dilemma I have put you in.

“I have put you between a rock and a hard place because everyone is pulling their direction. We are making things hard for you by making you a part of these issues to (decide who should be prime minister).

“Last week when I was presented in parliament, there was yet another confusion and embarrassment as there was someone (Majoro) sitting where I ought to sit. Please trust us to deal with this impasse,” Mr Kabi said.

He said Dr Majoro had promised to make way for him soon but no sooner had he said this than he went back to pleading to be given the opportunity to continue running the country.

“Majoro told me that there was a shortage of money to refuel his fleet and he was now refueling it from his own purse. He said he would soon be giving it (fleet) to me. So, I trust that it shouldn’t be long because he is no longer using it (the fleet) …

“Bravely, I stand before you and say I shall deliver on this mandate given to me… Please give me this opportunity to rule now. This is an opportunity that I have been afforded by Basotho. Don’t make me campaign as though I am in the opposition and make promises to deliver on those promises after the elections; I want to do things now.

We promise to do things now and not after the elections,” Mr Kabi said.

ABC Youth League President, Tšoloane Maphasa, echoed Messrs Kabi and Moleleki’s sentiments, saying it was illogical for Dr Majoro to cling on when the party had rejected him in favour of Mr Kabi.

“We can’t have two centres of power. We held elections where Honourable Kabi was elected to lead us. Honourable Majoro was still deputy ABC leader but he stripped himself of the power to work with the NEC by resigning.

“Just as he resigned from the NEC, we’d like to see him resigning from being prime minister.

Ntate Thabane stepped down when he was pressurized. Ntate Majoro should do the same and make way for Ntate Kabi to be prime minister. We are not going to fight you (Majoro). You have a choice and it’s up to you to do the right thing for the sake of ABC. We will leave you and go to the constituencies to build a people-centred ABC with the few resources that we have while you use those entrusted to you as prime minister.

“We cannot have two centers of power to run government and the ABC,” Mr Maphasa said.


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