Majoro dodges bullet
- as ABC factions call for ceasefire
- and shelve plans to recall him
PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has dodged a bullet after his All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s national executive committee (NEC) resolved to shelve the issue of recalling him and concentrate on re-uniting the party.
The decision was made at the NEC’s meeting at Khali Hotel in Maseru this week. Fireworks had been expected at the meeting after NEC members had exchanged blows at an earlier heated 8 February 2020 meeting over disagreements to recall Dr Majoro.
However, authoritative sources said party factions appeared to have come to their senses and realised there was no benefit to be derived from continuing their war of attrition. Instead, it was decided that the NEC explores strategies of reuniting the party ahead of crunch general elections in 2022.
The sources said the suggestion to recall Dr Majoro was not even discussed at the meeting, contrary to an earlier statement by party spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa that the NEC had resolved to recall Dr Majoro and the issue would be finalised within seven days at the Monday NEC meeting.
Deputy party leader Nqosa Mahao had convened a press conference to rebut Mr Masoetsa’s claims, saying there was no NEC resolution to recall the prime minister. He was backed at the press conference by chairperson Samuel Rapapa and deputy secretary general Nkaku Nkabi.
But Mr Masoetsa had branded Professor Mahao “a fool” insisting that Dr Majoro was on his way out because he was allegedly not consulting and working well with the NEC.
Prof Mahao, secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, Mr Masoetsa, deputy spokesperson ‘Matebatso Doti, and Mr Rapapa had once constituted a formidable faction against party leader Thomas Thabane.
They convened countrywide rallies to rally party supporters against Mr Thabane after the latter had rejected Prof Mahao’s election as deputy leader. But that faction has now splintered with Mr Hlaele having been accused by Prof Mahao of trying to hijack the party. Mr Hlaele is said to have reverted to working with Mr Thabane, his father-in-law. He is said to now harbor his own ambitions of leading the ABC when the ageing Mr Thabane (82) bows out.
Mr Masoetsa and deputy chairperson Chalane Phori are reportedly part of Mr Hlaele’s faction. Messrs Rapapa and Kabi, treasurer Tlali Mohapi and Ms Doti have thus far aligned themselves with Prof Mahao in rejecting the Hlaele and Thabane inspired machinations to oust Dr Majoro. But Prof Mahao and Mr Rapapa themselves harbor their own ambitions of leading the ABC. So is Dr Majoro who already controls the spoils of state power as premier. It is thus far from certain whether the calm in the ABC will hold or will be short-lived.
Sources in the ABC nonetheless told the Lesotho Times that calm had returned in the party’s rickety NEC.
“Members of the NEC from both factions remained calm throughout the meeting on Monday. None of us expected that we would conduct our business in that manner following what happened during the last meeting and statements that were made later by both factions,” an NEC official, speaking on condition he was not named because he is not allowed to speak to the press, said.
The NEC official said the meeting resolved that the committee must now channel its energies towards finding practical strategies to unite the party ahead of next year’s general elections.
He said the NEC did not even discuss the issue of recalling Dr Majoro as Mr Masoetsa had earlier vowed it would.
“The issue surrounding Majoro’s recall was not on the agenda and no one attempted to raise it. I think it is safe to say the NEC abandoned the matter without even discussing it. Ntate Thabane himself was there but he did not raise the matter even though he has constantly raised the issue in the past four NEC meetings that he attended,” the source said.
Another source it was decided that NEC members must find ways to reconcile and unite the party.
“I was shocked to see how all of us remained calm throughout the meeting. We all allowed the meeting to progress and stuck to the agenda. It was really surprising to witness that calmness given what happened in our last meeting,” the source said.
“A reconciliation pact was reached. It compels all members to do everything in their power to unite and help grow the party. We all agreed that it is our collective and individual responsibility to unite Kobotata (ABC) and ensure that it grows in leaps and bounds ahead of the 2022 elections. The ABC cannot afford to go into the elections while still fractured.”
Mr Masoetsa refused to comment on the meeting saying the NEC had resolved to keep all its discussions and decisions out of the public space.
“The meeting resolved that the NEC must stop discussing its business with the media,” Mr Masoetsa said.
On his part, Mr Rapapa referred all questions to Mr Masoetsa.
At the 8 February meeting, two NEC members Sekhonyana Mosenene and Mohlophehi Mohobelo exchanged physical blows as the discussion about recalling Dr Majoro degenerated.
Mr Mosenene was to later team up with another NEC member Thabo Sekonyela in seeking a High Court application declaring Mr Thabane unfit to lead the fractious party.
Judgment is scheduled to be passed today in that case. It seems no effort was made to encourage the petitioners to withdraw the case in light of the newly found cooperating spirit in the NEC.