BASOTHO National Party (BNP) deputy leader Machesetsa Mofomobe has launched a scathing attack on the First Lady, ‘Maesaiah Thabane, accusing her of running a cabal which received monetary payments in exchange of abandoning Lesotho’s support for Western Sahara’s right to independence from Morocco.
In a recorded video to BNP followers this week, Mr Mofomobe said his party had since withdrawn from the governing coalition and backed the All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s pact with the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) to form a new government which excludes ABC leader and outgoing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
He said a new government was necessary to save Lesotho from the machinations of the First Lady and her self-serving cabal.
Last October, Lesotho stirred controversy by breaking ranks with its SADC and African Union counterparts to declare its neutrality in the long-running Morocco-Western Sahara conflict over the latter’s demands for independence from Morocco.
The AU and SADC insist that Western Sahara has a right to self-determination and even independence from Morocco. Successive Lesotho governments have supported the AU/SADC position but last October, Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, Lesego Makgothi, wrote to the Moroccan government saying the government had resolved to observe “constructive neutrality” on the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict.
While the move was hailed in Morocco, it sparked controversy in Lesotho with BNP leader and Communications, Science and Technology Minister Thesele Maseribane insisting Lesotho’s position remained the same as that of the AU and SADC.
There were even calls for Mr Thabane to fire Mr Makgothi for unilaterally attempting to change Lesotho’s long held position on the issue.
This week, Mr Mofomobe, who is also deputy minister of Home Affairs, claimed that Mr Makgothi had not acted alone. He suggested the minister was part of a cabal loyal to Ms Thabane which had been handsomely rewarded for ensuring that Lesotho takes a neutral stance. He however, did not say who had paid ‘Maesaiah in “American dollars” for pushing for neutrality.
He said the BNP had therefore decided to withdraw from the current coalition where it governs alongside the ABC, Alliance of Democrats (AD) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL). He said the proposed new ABC-DC coalition would save the country from the “corrupt” and “embarrassing acts” of the ‘Maesaiah cabal.
He said he did not mind being fired from government for his claims.
“Even if I was to be removed from my (deputy) ministerial post tomorrow, I don’t care as long as the cabal can be removed. The ministerial post can go to hell as long as Lesotho is not governed by the First Lady and her cabal.
“The bigger picture is to take Lesotho away from the state house cabal. This is a cabal that sells the country for American dollars. People have been given American dollars for Lesotho to take a neutral position on the Western Sahara matter. I know people were given money.
“Are we expected to keep quiet and not form a coalition with (DC leader Mathibeli) Mokhothu to save our country from embarrassment? We know how corrupt these people are and I am saying this (ABC-DC deal) is the best option to save Lesotho,” Mr Mofomobe says in the video.
Mr Makgothi denied claims that he or anyone had been bribed to push for a neutral stance on the Morocco-Western Sahara issue.
“I don’t know anything. Maybe he (Mr Mofomobe) will tell us where and how that happened,” Mr Makgothi said in a brief telephonic interview with the Lesotho Times this week. Ms ‘Thabane’s was not reachable on her mobile phone for comment yesterday.