DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) deputy leader, Monyane Moleleki, has dismissed allegations that he intends to quit the newly-formed coalition of seven political parties and join the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in protest over Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing’s position in the governing alliance.
The DC, LCD, Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independent Party (NIP), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) announced their coalition last week and elected DC leader Pakalitha Mosisili as prime minister and Mr Metsing his deputy.
However, Basotho National Party (BNP) deputy leader, Joang Molapo last weekend claimed that six DC Members of Parliament (MPs) had approached the ABC, BNP and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) alliance, “expressing their interest to join us and defect from the recently-formed coalition of seven parties”.
Chief Molapo said the MPs were “already fed-up” with the “squabbles” within the coalition over the allocation of government posts, and also alleged the legislators had expected Mr Moleleki to be deputy premier. According to Chief Molapo, the disgruntled MPs were arguing Mr Metsing was bringing nothing but trouble to the alliance.
Mr Moleleki, Chief Molapo sensationally claimed, had queried why Mr Metsing, whose LCD clinched 56 467 votes, could be accorded the deputy premiership yet the DC had amassed 218 573 votes in last month’s snap election, which ousted the BNP, ABC and LCD coalition government.
In an interview on Tuesday this week, Mr Moleleki laughed at Chief Molapo’s “very fertile imagination”.
“Such claims can only be made by a very thick person with fertile imagination,” said Mr Moleleki soon after the swearing-in ceremony of members of the 9th National Assembly.
“It’s the wishful thinking of people who cannot accept that they failed to form government. I should add that the allegations are ludicrous as I would never join the ABC under any circumstances.”
According to Mr Moleleki, the DC and LCD agreement to form government was initiated before the 28 February 2015 elections were even proclaimed by King Letsie III.
“You should remember that when we were preparing to pass a vote-of-no-confidence in the government led by outgoing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, our coalition with the LCD was ended abruptly at the recommendation of Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba in his capacity as SADC (Southern African Development Community) troika chairperson,” said Mr Moleleki.
The DC-LCD coalition pact, which was signed on 11 June 2014, was stillborn as Dr Thabane had prorogued parliament for nine months the previous day. And as part of SADC’s efforts to bring an end to the political crisis that ensued, the regional bloc facilitated the Windhoek Declaration, signed in Namibia on 30 July 2014, which among other things, compelled the LCD to terminate the agreement so that Dr Thabane could reopen parliament.
According to Mr Moleleki, when he initiated negotiations between the two parties in March last year, the LCD contingent consisted of Mpho Malie, Thabang Pheko and Selibe Mochoboroane while the DC was represented by Retšelisitsoe Masenyetse, Mathibeli Mokhothu and Tlohang Sekhamane.
“So after being involved in this alliance from the beginning, there is no way that I can turn around now and abandon it for the ABC. Molapo must have a fertile imagination to even suggest that I approached them with the intention to defect.”
On his part, Mr Sekhamane said the DC-LCD coalition pact was Mr Moleleki’s brainchild, and also dismissed Chief Molapo’s claims of mass defections by DC legislators.
“He (Moleleki) was the one who spearheaded the coalition agreement and it was decided from the onset that the DC would take the prime minister position, while the LCD leader would be the deputy prime minister,” said Mr Sekhamane.
“It would then be outrageous for anyone to say Ntate Moleleki was aggrieved by something he initiated.”
Mr Moleleki also said those “peddling lies” should know that unlike the previous administration, the incoming seven-party coalition government would not interfere in the operations of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The DC deputy leader also accused the outgoing Dr Thabane-led government of abusing state instruments in a bid to prosecute him “at all costs on trumped up corruption charges”.
“These people who I am alleged to be defecting to (ABC) even head-hunted a prosecutor by the name of Advocate Sipho Mdluli to prosecute me,” Mr Moleleki said.
“We will not have a government that meddles in the affairs of the DPP’s office, but an independent prosecutor who will decide the fate of the criminal charges against me and not the government.”
Mr Moleleki further said the incoming government would “promote and deepen” democracy in Lesotho and make collective decisions as opposed to the ABC-led coalition government which he said had been mired in squabbles.