The All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader and Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, has labelled Koro-Koro legislator, Thabiso Litšiba, “a traitor” for his decision to abandon the ruling party.
Mr Litšiba officially left the ABC on Wednesday last week when he “crossed the floor” in parliament to join the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC), ending widespread speculation he had become disillusioned with the ruling party over a number of issues, among them Dr Thabane’s alleged autocratic leadership.
However, addressing an ABC rally in Taung on Sunday, Dr Thabane said the former National University of Lesotho (NUL) lecturer had not only let down the party that gave him fame, but also him personally.
Dr Thabane, whose party formed a coalition government alongside the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) after the May 26 2012 general election, also said he was particularly unhappy Mr Litšiba left the ABC without “even bothering to alert me yet I personally welcomed him into the party”.
“This person really betrayed me. Yesterday in parliament, this educated person, who even studied in
America, crossed the floor to join our enemies,” Dr Thabane thundered
“We were neighbours here in Maseru and when he had decided to join the ABC, he informed me and I welcomed him. But when he wanted to leave us, he did not even alert me.
“The DC might have taken Litšiba from us, but today, we have gained many members form the same party,” the ABC leader said, gesturing at a group of people who had just joined the party at the rally.
However, Dr Thabane said the problem with Mr Litšiba was he joined politics “late in his life”.
“A child is nurtured from an early age, and educated, and this eventually becomes part of his or her character. But when someone is taught something late in life, such a person fails to learn and understand what he or she is being taught, just like people who join politics at a late stage of their lives.
“When Litšiba joined the ABC, the Koro-Koro voters were happy that they now had an educated Member of
Parliament (MP). It is unfortunate that he failed to understand our ideology as party. The point is Litšiba is nobody and nothing without the ABC,” Dr Thabane charged, to thunderous applause from the audience.
The premier further pointed out when Mr Litšiba and Stadium Area constituency MP, Mophato Monyake decided to leave the ABC, they were “trying their luck but failed to charm the voters”.
“The two men failed to realise the already existing parties had dominated the political spectrum and there were no more youths to charm into joining them.
“Monyake was even a minister in the coalition government and when we tried to rebuke him, he decided to leave the
ABC. But those who hold the responsibility to admonish ministers should exercise the right to do so freely especially when things don’t go well.”
Mr Monyake, who officially quit the ABC this week, has since announced he would not be joining any party but work as an independent activist.
Dr Thabane also said Mr Litšiba’s views towards the ABC were “ill-informed”.
“Litšiba must be a fool to be leaving the ABC. I can’t desert the ABC; I’d actually fight for the ABC,” Dr Thabane told the cheering supporters.
Speaking at the same rally, the party’s Women’s League Chairperson, ‘Mathato Phafoli, said ABC supporters should “desist the charms of people like Litšiba” and vote fellow women into parliament.
“The Women’s League is tired of seeing people cross the floor with our votes. We
should not elect men who always fail and desert us.
“It is time we voted people who would not undermine us, as women. You have never heard about women crossing the floor as Litšiba has done,” Ms Phafoli said.
The party’s Youth League chairperson, Taelo Ntsobotsane, in his address, described Mr Litšiba’s decision to quit the ABC as “disrespectful”.
“He disrespected the ABC. This is party built on the ideals of bringing positive change to Lesotho and all those who betray us from now onwards should be named after Litšiba as he has failed us terribly,” Mr Ntsobotsane said.
On a different note, Dr Thabane told the rally it was important for all the three parties constituting government, to work together while still maintaining their independence.
“We are individual parties that are not united, but it would not be in our best interest if we don’t work harmoniously.
But it is also important to remember that we are still independent parties,” Dr Thabane said.
The prime minister also stressed the need for ministers to perform their duties accordingly.
“My role, as the prime minister, is to reshuffle the cabinet. The reshuffling of ministers happens everywhere throughout the world, and the reshuffle takes place after a lot of assessments. It is done in the best interest of the party and the people,” Dr Thabane said.