Kabi heads to court in fresh bid to oust Majoro

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi, and his allies who were left with egg on their faces, when their bid to oust Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro through a motion of no confidence flopped this week, are now contemplating taking the matter to court.

Dr Majoro garnered 66 votes against 38 to comfortably thwart the no confidence bid. Two MPs abstained from voting.

The motion was filed by Mokhotlong legislator and Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP) leader, Tefo Mapesela, and seconded by Alliance of Democrats (AD) MP, Kose Makoa.

ABC deputy chairperson, Chalane Phori, accused National Assembly Speaker Sephiri Motinyane of aiding Dr Majoro to “illegally” remain as prime minister. He urged Dr Majoro to quit the ABC and forge a new coalition under a new party since the ABC no longer recognized his premiership after it “withdrew” from the current coalition. Dr Majoro cannot remain prime minister on an ABC banner because he was not the leader of the party, Mr Phori insisted.

“What was initially a motion of no confidence has now become a motion of confidence in Dr Majoro,” Mr Phori said.

“So, if that is the case, he (Majoro) should now form his own coalition under a new party because he is not the leader of the ABC.  Once a coalition partner withdraws from the government it calls for a motion of no confidence, which is what we did. According to Section 87 (2) of the national constitution, ‘the King shall appoint as Prime Minister a member of the National Assembly who appears to the Council of State to be the leader of the political party or coalition of political parties that will command the support of a majority of the members of the National Assembly’. Majoro is neither a leader of a party nor a coalition of parties. So, he cannot remain as prime minister,” said Mr Phori, vowing they would go to court to push their view.

Mr Phori said the ABC also no longer recognized its 21 MPs who had voted for Dr Majoro, meaning the DC now had the largest number of MPs at 29.

Only 14 ABC MPs voted in support of the no confidence motion while 21 opposed it alongside the DC and other parties. Mr Phori said Mr Kabi no longer recognized the 21 MPs, meaning they should follow Dr Majoro in forming their new party. He said their “defection” from their leader, Kabi, meant they no longer represented the ABC in the National Assembly, leaving the DC as the majority party with its 29 MPs. Speaker Motinyane should thus have called upon the DC leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, to form the next government since he was the leader of the majority party even though the DC was reluctant to do so because of what Mr Phori described as its “marriage of convenienc” with Dr Majoro.

“Majoro is neither a leader of a coalition of parties nor that of the ABC.  He should thus not be prime minister. The Speaker misdirected himself by not allowing debate about the state of the current coalition in the House after Kabi became ABC leader and enabling the leader of a party or coalition of parties with the majority to be identified.  He (the Spekaer) has been shifting the goal posts in favor of Majoro all the time.

“It now looks as if there are two ABCs in parliament, hence the need to file an urgent application in court to get the interpretation of the law as to what is supposed to happen going forward,” charged Mr Phori.

Ideally, those behind Dr Majoro should have crossed the floor and constituted themselves into a new party. If Dr Majoro appeared to be their leader and they were in the majority, then he should have formed a new coalition, he said. However, under the current circumstances Dr Majoro is in office “illegally”.

“We will continue to fight hard because we don’t think Majoro is legally the premier.  His arrangement with the DC is just one of convenience and it is illegal,” said Mr Phori.

The drama in the ABC has continued unabated since Mr Kabi was elected as party leader in January and immediately declared his “right” to become prime minister in place of Dr Majoro.  His relentless but failed bid to dethrone Dr Majoro culminated in this week’s vote of no confidence which Mr Kabi and his allies lost.

Their attempt to try and dethrone Dr Majoro through the courts appears to be equally doomed. The courts cannot reasonably be expected to overturn the prerogative of MPs to choose a prime minister.

ABC spokesperson, Montoeli Masoetsa, said yesterday they would convene a special NEC seating today to decide on a way forward.

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