Kabi rips into Majoro
- attacks the PM as an “irrelevant nobody” with no mandate to remain in govt
- says he remains confident of ousting him in a no confidence motion
PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro is an “irrelevant nobody” in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and has no right to represent the party in the government, party leader Nkaku Kabi has declared.
Mr Kabi’s comments came after Dr Majoro addressed a joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister, Mathibeli Mokhothu, at the State House in Maseru on Monday.
Dr Majoro and Mr Mokhothu used the press conference to affirm that their coalition remained intact despite Mr Kabi’s purported attempt to withdraw the ABC from the government. Mr Kabi had announced the ABC’s “withdrawal” from government a fortnight ago.
Since then, his bickering with Dr Majoro has gone into overdrive with Mr Kabi steadfastly vying to replace Dr Majoro as prime minister. However, Dr Majoro has remained resolute in his refusal to be pushed out of power. He has won the backing of Mr Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC) and other smaller parties.
And on Monday, Dr Majoro and Mr Mokhothu held a joint press conference at the State House to affirm their union until elections later this year. They were flanked by 21 MPs from the ABC and the DC’s 29. The Basotho National Party (BNP)’s four MPs, five from the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), three from the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), one from Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), one from National Independent Party (NIP), one from Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL), and one from Basotho Congress Party (BCP). This means if it comes to a no confidence vote in parliament, Dr Majoro would be guaranteed 66 votes, including his own, to stay in power. The Basotho Action Party (BAP) of Professor Nqosa Mahao is also likely to back him, assuring him an even higher comfortable majority, with its 10 MPs. The BAP was not at the press conference.
Dr Majoro said he had called the press conference to affirm and display that he was enjoying the support of the majority of the MPs including those from the DC and other parties outside government.
Mr Kabi however insisted yesterday that the ABC was no longer part of the government. It had withdrawn in full, he claimed, in remarks rebuffed by Dr Majoro.
“This (press conference) is just to affirm that we still command the majority to be in government,” Dr Majoro said.
“The government is still intact. You have all witnessed how Lesotho runs its parliamentary affairs and I would like to affirm to you that I will deliver on your mandate as given and I know there is a motion of no confidence in parliament whose fate we shall know soon.
“We would also like to ensure you that the budget is passed. The second biggest issue that still must be dealt with is the 11th Amendment to the Constitution which is yet to be deliberated on as the National Reforms Authority has already completed its assignment on that matter.
“It is not yet time for this government to go, we shall only leave office after the elections.”
For his part, Mr Mokhothu said the DC was not thirsty for power and would continue supporting Dr Majoro until the elections.
“We support Dr Majoro (to remain prime minister) even though we command more numbers, and we would do so even if he was the only ABC Member of Parliament left standing,” Mr Mokhothu said.
But an irate Mr Kabi came out guns blazing yesterday saying Dr Majoro had no mandate from the ABC.
“Who is Dr Majoro to be pushing the ABC’s mandate? I am sure he doesn’t even have an answer to that. He was co-opted into the party’s executive because he was just an ordinary member of parliament… He then decided to resign from the executive committee rendering himself even more irrelevant in the structures. He is just riding on our chariot without a mandate,” Mr Kabi told the Lesotho Times yesterday.
He however, said the impasse would be resolved in parliament when the vote of no confidence filed last week is debated tomorrow. He said he was confident Dr Majoro would be ousted in the no confidence motion notwithstanding the public show of support the prime minister paraded at his press conference.
“The motion of no confidence will settle this impasse. They are deceiving themselves when they say they have numbers. Smart MPs have already vowed their allegiance to me.”
If the numbers at Dr Majoro and Mr Mokhothu’s press conference are anything to go by, and if those MPs don’t change their allegiances, then Mr Kabi is unlikely to succeed in dislodging his nemesis through the no confidence motion. If Dr Majoro keeps all the MPs who have publicly backed him, it means Mr Kabi would only bank on the remaining 48. That is even being too generous as Prof Mahao’s 10 MPs are unlikely to support him, meaning he would have only 38.
Mr Kabi said Dr Majoro was still bitter about his January 2022 loss in the ABC’s elective conference which Mr Kabi won. He said Dr Majoro had taken a long time to heal and was now “soothing himself” by clinging to power.
“The prime minister is trying to make himself relevant by comforting himself over the blow he suffered at the conference, and he seems to be taking forever to heal. He is soothing himself with the clique of ministers who are only interested in keeping their positions against the interests of their own party and the movement that made them who they are, they are pathetic,” charged Mr Kabi.
Mr Kabi said Dr Majoro had become like several other “unwise” African leaders who continue clinging to power when they clearly did not have the mandate of their people.
“I did not know his other side that he is just like other unwise African leaders who just hold on to power even if they have lost support…ABC supporters made their voices heard. They made it clear they don’t see him (Majoro) being fit to carry our movement forward. He has failed as prime minister, yet he wants to cling on.
“Theft is rife, we don’t have winter cropping, I wonder if preparations are in place for summer cropping under his dictatorship, something I never saw in him until he decided to cling to power.”
While Dr Majoro thought he was punishing the ABC, he was in fact tarnishing his own reputation and would regret his decisions later, charged Mr Kabi. Even if he clung to power until the elections, the premier would suffer thereafter as ABC supporters would not forgive him for his betrayal. He will essentially no longer have a political home.
“We have seen many defiantly clinging to power only to regret later when their decisions haunt them. As it is, he is not even sure as to under what pretext he is running the affairs of this country because the ABC withdrew from the government along with its leader (Kabi) and the caucus,” Mr Kabi said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Dr Majoro’s press attaché, Buta Moseme, said the premier would not comment on the issue.
“The prime minister has no comment on those allegations,” Mr Moseme said.