Maliehe stands his ground
ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe, says his attack on the First Lady, Maesaiah Thabane, does not warrant his suspension from the party.
Mr Maliehe last night told the Lesotho Times that he had responded to a ‘show cause’ letter that the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) served him with in the aftermath of his 6 May 2018 attack on Mrs Thabane at a rally in Butha-Buthe.
The party’s NEC had asked him to explain why he should not be disciplined for accusing the First Lady of exerting undue interference in party and government affairs.
Mr Maliehe said it was however, not clear whether the NEC wanted him to ‘show cause’ why he should not be suspended from the party or from his cabinet post as Tourism minister or both.
“I cannot publicly share the details of my response at the moment but all I can say for now is that I have responded to the ‘show cause’ letter,” Mr Maliehe said.
“Basically, I am disputing that my actions or what I said warrant a suspension. I also want the NEC to clarify as to which position I would be suspended from.”
Mr Maliehe said despite lack of clarity on the nature of the intended suspension, he had responded “truthfully” with the hope that the issues he highlighted will help to make the ABC “a better political party”.
“The ball is now in the NEC’s court. My next line of action will be informed by their feedback. In the meantime I will continue with my duties in my constituency, in the party and in the ministry of tourism,” he said.
Mr Maliehe’s attack on the First Lady proved that there were serious divisions within the ABC and weaknesses in the party’s conflict resolution processes.
There have been claims by some party members that disciplinary measures against Mr Maliehe would further divide the party and even cause a split as he reportedly enjoys the support of some cabinet ministers and party legislators. He is also said to wield a strong influence at grassroots level.
The party’s secretary-general, Samonyane Ntsekele, last week said the party had issued the ‘show cause’ letter with a view to gaining a full appreciation of Mr Maliehe’s utterances at the Butha-Buthe rally.
He said the internal process was not aimed at dividing the party or the coalition government.
“Conflict is a normal and natural occurrence that can be used to resolve differences. It is an inevitable part of our lives and cannot be completely eliminated. However, it is important to manage it constructively and innovatively so that it does not escalate into violence or unhealthy situations,” Mr Ntsekele said.
Viewed in this positive light, he explained that conflict may present opportunities for change, growth, development and creative problem-solving.
“Real democracy is about resolving conflicts constructively, listening to others, accepting when you have made a mistake and following set procedures to address issues and reconciling for development,” Mr Ntsekele said.