LCD leader says it was a ‘big mistake’ not to demand security and judicial ministries when his party joined the coalition government in 2012
Deputy Prime Minister and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, has lamented the coalition government’s decision to award security and judicial ministries to the All Basotho Convention (ABC).
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s ABC took ministries of Law, Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs, as well as Defence, Police and National Security when it formed government with the LCD and Basotho National Party (BNP) in June 2012.
However, Mr Metsing on Sunday insisted it was a “big mistake” to put these ministries under the ABC control as they were “abused” by the premier, leading to the collapse of the government halfway through its five-year term.
Mr Metsing, who was addressing thousands of LCD supporters at the party’s last campaign rally in Lepereng before the 28 February general elections, said Basotho find themselves going for an early vote due to the ABC leader “who doesn’t like peace and unity among our people, both which had been made possible by the coalition government”.
He continued: “We failed to last the expected five years in office because Thabane was never interested in peace among our people in the first place.
“Basotho should not vote for such a person again, and I even appeal to ABC members who want stability in this country not to vote for this man.
“How can anyone vote for somebody who has brought such confusion and disharmony to our nation?”
According to Mr Metsing the coalition partners should have shared the security and legal ministries equally and not put them under a single party.
“That was our biggest mistake—allowing such key ministries to be under the ABC when we were sharing the departments at the formation of the coalition government in 2012. Look how he has been abusing them to settle personal scores!
“This man has been influencing the police, the DCEO (Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offenses) and judiciary, to persecute his enemies.
“I don’t think anyone wants instability in our country, including ABC supporters, which is why I am urging the nation not to vote him to power come election-day. He does not like democracy; he does not want peace and he hates to see Basotho being united and happy. In short, he does not deserve your vote.
“Basotho had thought the coalition government would be the cornerstone for peace-building and unity in this country, but Thabane destroyed those hopes by destabilising these critical organs of the state. This made it difficult for the coalition government to function, hence these early elections.”
Mr Metsing further accused the premier of “promoting violence” among communities, when all the people wanted was to live in peace and forget about politics.
“From the day we formed the coalition government with Thabane, the LCD was always working to unite Basotho because we are one people. But he was not happy about this because, suddenly, he started talking about dismissing civil servants who did not belong to the three parties in government, and went for principal secretaries he said belonged to the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC). Even though we advised him not to purge innocent Basotho, Thabane still went ahead and fired them and many other public servants he accused of belonging to the DC.
“Yet DC members are Basotho; they are our brothers and sisters so why fire them simply because they don’t belong to your party? Is that not promoting violence among the people? Why abuse power that way?”
Mr Metsing then told the rally how an LCD-led government would unite all Basotho and ensure good governance through non-interference in state institutions such as the Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
The LCD leader then turned his guns on BNP deputy leader Joang Molapo, accusing the Home Affairs minister of being “very corrupt together with Thabane.”
He continued the onslaught: “Thabane and his cronies have created many companies, which are corruptly benefitting from government tenders.
“I don’t even own a single company, but the prime minister has around 20, and the question is why. Because he is the one who is corrupt, he accuses everybody else of being corrupt and uses ministries under his control to persecute innocent people.
“If you check my bank accounts, and Thabane’s, you will realise who is really corrupt.
“The same goes with this person I come from the same district with. His company has benefitted from Home Affairs of which he is the minister, and that company is called ‘Nala Capital Services’.
“Nala benefited from the Ministry of Home Affairs by delivering services during a music festival held in honour of the King’s birthday last year and there was conflict of interest here, which amounted to corruption.”
However, contacted for comment on Tuesday, Chief Molapo said he had nothing to hide regarding the festival.
“Our company did not bid for any job in the ministry but rather, a firm that was awarded the tender approached us for funds so it could deliver the required services.
“I even reported the request for funding to cabinet and the Attorney General, and explained that I already had that company before I became minister (in 2012).
“I wanted to find out if there could be any conflict of interest in the funding and no one in cabinet said there was so we continued helping that company,” Chief Molapo said.
“Unlike Metsing, I work openly and transparently; I made full disclosure of the company in question and cabinet gave me the go ahead.
“We signed an agreement with the company in question that the refund would be coming straight from government to avoid any problems.”
Dr Thabane was not immediately available for comment on Mr Metsing’s accusations, but his press secretary, Thabo Thakalekoala, dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.
“Mr Metsing should focus on his election-campaign and stop disturbing this nation’s peace. He should get his facts rights before making such baseless accusations.
“The prime minister has no such companies; this is Mr Metsing’s last kicks as a politician because he will become irrelevant after the elections,” Mr Thakalekoala said.