. . . slams DC deputy leader’s call for unity among political parties
PRIME Minister Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has reiterated his stance that congress and nationalist parties are like oil and water that don’t mix in a sly dig at his Democratic Congress (DC) deputy Monyane Moleleki.
In his first response to Mr Moleleki’s political maneuverers, Dr Mosisili said “a certain highly-placed official within the DC” had been calling on congress and nationalist parties to unite.
The remarks, which the premier made during a constituency gathering in Ketane over the weekend, were clearly aimed at Mr Moleleki who has vowed to work towards unifying Basotho and “bring to an end the polarisation that crippled the nation’s institutions”.
Addressing hundreds of DC and opposition supporters who gathered to welcome him home late last month from a working visit to Russia and Iran, Mr Moleleki said he wanted to unify Basotho regardless of their political persuasion.
The DC deputy leader said the country recently celebrated 50 years of independence, yet the country was deeply divided.
“It is time that we guarantee the unity of our people within political parties and between political parties,” he said.
Apart from DC supporters, the gathering included All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP), Reformed Congress of Lesotho and Lesotho People’s Congress members among others.
Mr Moleleki also admitted his Lirurubele (butterflies) faction was holding talks with ABC leader Thomas Thabane to form a new government.
Dr Mosisili, who is linked with the rivalLithope (loosely translated to girlfriends) faction, has since responded with a cabinet reshuffle that has purged ministers aligned to the Lirurubele faction and moved Mr Moleleki from the Police ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office which is deemed as a demotion.
In his address, Dr Mosisili said contrary to the claims of “a certain highly-placed official” congress and national party followers would never be united.
He said the nationalist parties were led by chiefs since their formation, and hence elitist, while congress parties were led by commoners.
“It is not by coincidence that the BNP is led by Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane and deputised by Chief Joang Molapo. It’s not by coincidence that they are all chiefs; it has always been an elitist party dominated by chiefs while congress parties are led by commoners,” said Dr Mosisili.
“For that reason, we would be lost if we listened to some of our own people making remarks that we heard recently. Such remarks were made by someone among you, a very highly placed party official among us.
He added: “He (Mr Moleleki) claimed to be uniting supporters of congress parties with the nationalists.
“I am the one who said that congress and nationalist parties are like water and oil, they can never mix. Then I was surprised to hear this person championing unity for the congress and nationalist parties and also attacking me.”
The DC leader said uniting the parties was bound to fail as they espoused diametrically different ideologies.
“There is nothing mysterious about what we have here in Lesotho where political parties are divided along congress and nationalists.
“The Americans have their Democrats, who were represented by ‘Me’ Hillary Clinton, and Republicans, who were represented by Ntate Donald Trump during their elections. It has always been like that since the time America fought for its independence. The two parties were always contesting for political office.”
He also stated that United States President Barack Obama, who will soon be handing over to Republican Mr Trump, was a Democrat while former president George W Bush and his father were also Republicans.
“It would therefore be a form of cowardice for someone to say the division between congress and nationalists should end merely because we have marked 50 years of our independence,” Dr Mosisili said.
“He (Mr Moleleki) said congress and nationalists are unwanted ideological differences among our people today, and their times have come to an end, and it is time for a new thinking. We are really in trouble. That is a wrong message and a big mistake.”
He said the congress-nationalist divide showed the vibrancy of Lesotho’s politics. The premier gave the example of the ABC, saying Dr Thabane gave his party the name convention to differentiate it from congress parties, and to show its nationalist leanings.
“I have always said that even though Ntate Thabane’s party is called a convention and it differs with the BNP, it is still the same thing. They are all nationalists. It was not a mistake that when Ntate Thabane formed the ABC he said its letter ‘C’ doesn’t stand for congress but a convention,” added Dr Mosisili.
“Here, in Lesotho, you’re either a congress follower or a nationalist party follower. So we should be vigilant because we are definitely at a cross roads right now.”