Moleleki taunts ‘terrified enemies’
Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader, Monyane Moleleki, has reacted angrily to allegations that he now feared for his life after his party threatened him with unspecified action should he defect to the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) alliance.
According to the rumour mill, and BNP deputy leader Joang Molapo, Mr Moleleki had allegedly been negotiating with the two parties in a bid to join them alongside “several other disgruntled DC Members of Parliament (MPs)”. It is alleged Mr Moleleki and the MPs were not happy that he had not been made deputy premier in the new government to be led by DC leader Pakalitha Mosisili, who was sworn-in as prime minister last week in the wake of the 28 February snap elections.
But in an exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Mr Moleleki condemned the “malicious rumours”, which he said were being spread by “enemies” terrified that now that he was back in government, he might “retaliate” for the “torture” they subjected him while they were in power.
Mr Moleleki—whose party formed a coalition government with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Morematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independent Party (NIP), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) after the 28 February 2015 snap election resulted in a hung parliament—is tipped to be appointed Minister of Police when the premier finally announces his cabinet.
“Let me state this very clearly from the onset, that there is no truth whatsoever in these claims. First and foremost, I am not negotiating with the ABC on anything, and again, I am very happy in the DC. This is all a pack of lies by people who are terrified that maybe I am as vindictive as they are, and that I might go after them for whatever they were doing to me when they were in power, but fortunately, I don’t sink that low and pursue a personal vendetta the way they did,” Mr Moleleki said, in apparent reference to his cases of alleged corruption currently before the courts of law.
According to the DC deputy leader, contrary to what his “detractors” were saying, he had never asked for Lesotho Mounted Police Service guards as opposed to Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) security once he is sworn-in as a minister. Mr Moleleki also condemned as “shameless lies”, allegations that he even “briefly” fled to South Africa last week to escape DC members who were baying for his blood over the alleged defection, as well as reports that he was unhappy that LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing had been preferred over him for the deputy premier position.
“I would have laughed if this was not such a serious matter, but it is pure fabrication that I fled to South Africa because I had received death threats from members of my own party. There has never been such a threat from the DC or anyone else, for that matter, and as far as Mr Metsing is concerned, we have a very good working relationship.
“Ever since the Congress movement agreement was signed (on 4 March 2015) to form a coalition government, I have been having very cordial meetings with him and never fight over anything. I even had an informal meeting with him at his home yesterday, so where does this allegation of bad blood between him and me come from? Does it even make sense?”
On the issue of his security, Mr Moleleki said he had never made any special request from any quarter regarding who should guard him.
“The police are not surrounding my house for the simple reason that they are not giving me any security. When you entered through the gate right now, did you see any special security or police officers around this house? Were you scanned when you came in to check whether you were carrying any special cameras or weapons? Do I look like a man who is fearing for his life?
“And in any case, if I was to need VIP protection at some point from the government of Lesotho, it would definitely be the military not the police, because that is the standard procedure.”
Returning to the alleged fallout with Mr Metsing over the deputy premiership post, Mr Moleleki said it would be foolhardy for him not to acknowledge the LCD’s value to the alliance.
“I am an intellectual and understand figures so much and wouldn’t make such a mistake of not acknowledging Mr Metsing’s contribution to our coalition. I am fully aware that the ABC could have retained power if the LCD had decided to renew their alliance that saw them form the first coalition government alongside the BNP, in 2012.
“In our initial agreement with Mr Metsing (signed in June 2014 at the height of infighting in the LCD, ABC and BNP coalition government over Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s alleged dictatorial tendencies, which led to the collapse of the government halfway through its five-year term and last month’s election), he was promised the position of Deputy Prime Minister and there was no way that I could turn around now and say I am not happy with this arrangement. I was part of that initial agreement so there is no way I can be angry with this now,” Mr Moleleki added.
Asked if it was true that Dr Mosisili had approached South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to mediate once again, over an alleged dispute between the seven coalition Congress partners in the new government, over ministerial positions, Mr Moleleki said: “Nothing could be further from the truth; there is no disharmony between the seven parties in our new coalition.
“I also hear people talking about a grand coalition between us and the ABC, which can never happen. Our current coalition has 65 parliamentary seats, while the other group has 55, and the minimum we need to be in government is 61. This is a comfortable cushion so this grand coalition with the ABC would be unnecessary.”
Mr Moleleki added: “Let’s just speculate; people see me as a threat because of what they did to me when they were in government. They think I am all out to settle old scores, but I wouldn’t stoop so low just to settle old scores. If someone does a terrible thing to you, you should not take revenge because you wouldn’t be any better than that malicious individual. The only difference would be who wronged the other first.
“For example, if someone rapes your daughter, doing the same to his child puts you in the same boat with him and like I said, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to pursue such a personal agenda.”
Asked if the delay in naming a cabinet by the premier was a sign that all was not well in the alliance, Mr Moleleki: “No; far from it. I am not comfortable with this lengthy process myself but at the same time, I know the steps which have to be taken to ensure the right people are appointed. We first have to understand that Senators should be sworn-in first, because some of them would then be appointed ministers.
“There are formalities to be followed before cabinet is sworn-in and these things are not so easy when there are so many parties in a coalition. But with one party in power, it was going to be much easier. “Now Ntate Mosisili has to accommodate our colleagues in the coalition and understandably, he has taken long. Do I like it? No,” he said.
Mr Moleleki also said the Coalition Agreement, which would give clear guidelines on how the seven-party government would function, was yet to be finalised.
“The agreement is not yet ready but immediately it is, the public would be made aware of it,” he said.