PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Economic Political Advisor, Fako Likoti, says the coalition pact between former Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader Monyane Moleleki and the opposition bloc is doomed as it is predicated on a wrong premise and inked by “unprincipled” signatories.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Dr Likoti said Mr Moleleki’s envisaged government of national unity (GNU) was usually formed as a conflict resolution mechanism to restore democracy and not to oust an elected government.
On 24 November this year, Mr Moleleki signed a coalition agreement with the All Basotho Convention and its opposition partners, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho, meant to oust the seven-party coalition government led by Dr Mosisili.
Titled “The Coalition Agreement for National Unity and Reconciliation”, the pact called on all political parties to join the alliance to form a GNU. Under the agreement, Mr Moleleki would head the coalition for the first 18 months upon forming government and thereafter trade places with ABC leader and former premier Thomas Thabane who would be deputy prime minister.
However, Mr Moleleki, who signed the agreement as the leader of a DC faction opposed to Dr Mosisili, was last week suspended from the party for six years along with nine other National Executive Committee (NEC) members.
Mr Moleleki has since announced his intention to form a new political party in light of his suspension and admitted the coalition pact would need to be renegotiated in light of recent developments.
Dr Likoti said Mr Moleleki and his followers’ “fatal mistake” was to join forces with the “untrustworthy” Dr Thabane.
“It came as a great shock to us that Moleleki and his rebels decided to join forces with Thabane who is a serial violator of international agreements,” he said.
“Thabane is the same man who undermined the three-party coalition government he was leading in 2014. He has to date reneged on three undertakings with Dr Mosisili.”
By their nature, Dr Likoti said, GNUs are meant to foster and promote democracy and not subvert it “as is the case with this agreement”.
He said GNUs were successfully implemented in post conflict scenarios in South Africa, after the end of apartheid, and in Zimbabwe, after the disputed 2008 elections.
Dr Likoti said a GNU is never established to oust a sitting government since it is inclusive by nature.
“A GNU is never established to remove a democratically-elected government. Right now, there is no political strife in Lesotho warranting a power sharing arrangement or GNU as suggested by both Thabane and Moleleki,” he said.
“Lesotho’s political system is not as polarised as some people make it out to be. We still attend social gatherings together such as funerals, weddings and even football matches.
“Supporters of political parties don’t disrupt rival parties’ rallies as is the case where you find mediation for the formation of GNUs taking place.”
Dr Likoti also poured scorn on the agreement for not having the input of other parties and not explaining the mechanisms by which they can join the alliance.
“What they have done is disrespectful to all the other political parties. A GNU is not established by people who rebelled against their own party leadership.
“It is never established by people who failed to manage their intra-party conflicts.”
He took issue with Mr Moleleki’s plea for supporters of congress and nationalist parties to take the cue of church leaders who united under the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) umbrella.
“The CCL was not founded as a rebellion against democratically-elected bishops. The CCL comparison is out of order and mischievous on the part of Moleleki; he should know better,” charged Dr Likoti.
“The CCL was not formed as a rebellion against an existing order as they are trying to do against the incumbent prime minister.”
He also took aim at opposition legislators, saying they “dismally” failed to hold ministers accountable through the use of portfolio committees.
“Instead, they continue to disseminate baseless accusations that there is rampant abuse of state funds by government ministers.”
Dr Likoti said the opposition MPs did not take former Finance minister Dr ‘Mamphono Khaketla to task over allegations of impropriety in the awarding of a government vehicle fleet tender to Bidvest Bank Limited.
Dr Khaketla has been accused of corruption and disregarding the due process in awarding the tender to Bidvest at the expense of joint venture company, Lebelonyane, that had been recommended for the contract. The minister, who was last month reshuffled to the Foreign Affairs portfolio, has vehemently denied the allegations.
“Parliamentarians are given powers to hold the government accountable through portfolio committees. However, they failed to hold the former Finance minister accountable on the allegations of impropriety,” said Dr Likoti.
“They should have just called her to the relevant portfolio committee and asked her about this Bidvest contract they claim was corruptly awarded.
“Unfortunately, most of these MPs just enjoy being backbenchers without performing their oversight functions.”
He also dared opposition MPs to issue a motion of no confidence against Dr Mosisili and “stop making unsubstantiated allegations that the government does not have the requisite numbers in the National Assembly to remain in power”.