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Parly breaks for Christmas

by Lesotho Times
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. . . break gives Majoro breathing space

 Pascalinah Kabi

THE ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s national executive committee (NEC) might have to wait until next year to push through a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro in parliament.

This follows Tuesday’s closure of parliament for its annual Christmas break.

Even when it opens on date yet to be announced in February 2022, ABC chairperson, Samuel Rapapa, who is against moves to recall Dr Majoro, predicts that May 2022 would be the earliest that the National Assembly would be able to attend to the Majoro issue.

This is because parliament will have its hands full with the deliberations on the 2022/23 budget when it reconvenes. The deliberations would most likely continue until the end of April, Mr Rapapa said.

The ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) last week voted to recall Dr Majoro and replace him with the now fired Agriculture, Food Security and Marketing Minister Nkaku Kabi.

But Dr Majoro’s refusal to resign means the only way he can be kicked out is through a no confidence vote by legislators. Even then, the ABC, which has 35 MPs including Dr Majoro and Mr Rapapa, would need the support of its Democratic Congress (DC) governing ally and other small parties to unseat the premier.

The DC has previously intimated that despite its differences with the premier, it will not support any no confidence motion against him.

Most ABC MPS in Dr Majoro’s current cabinet are unlikely to support his ouster for fear of losing their cushy positions.  There is no guarantee that any of them would be retained in a new Kabi cabinet.

Commenting on the issue this week, Mr Rapapa said the earliest the no confidence motion could be voted upon would be in May 2022.

“I am saying this matter will be discussed in parliament in May next year earliest because parliament has closed for Christmas today (Tuesday),” Mr Rapapa said.

“When parliament reconvenes in February, we will be dealing with budget until the end of April. We will only be able to deal with the Majoro issue in May and we will see if there will be enough parliamentary votes to oust him.

“I asked those who are recalling Majoro if they anticipated this (Christmas break). Did they engage ABC MPs on this issue? Did they talk to MPs from other parties because at the end of the day, this issue will involve other parties’ lawmakers? Did we even discuss this matter with the DC as our coalition partner? The answer to all these questions is no. None of these issues were ever addressed,” Mr Rapapa said.

Mr Rapapa was initially the ABC’s NEC choice to replace former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane when the committee pushed for his ouster in 2019.

However, ABC MPs insisted on voting on the issue in April 2020 and he lost out to Dr Majoro. This time, he was not even considered by the NEC when it voted last week to recall Dr Majoro. Instead, the NEC settled on Mr Kabi as the man to replace Dr Majoro.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Rapapa, who has made no secret of his desire to one day take over the ABC leadership reins and become prime minister, is not happy with the latest snub.

“I was shocked,” Mr Rapapa said of the decision to choose Mr Kabi ahead of him. “I realise that people’s personal interests are vested in their own people,” he added.

Even if Mr Rapapa’s predictions come true and Dr Majoro hangs on, Lesotho would still remain in crisis as the ABC infighting continues to be an albatross around the country’s neck.

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