Reforms a priority for ABC: Kabi

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Bongiwe Zihlangu

THE ongoing reforms process which compelled His Majesty King Letsie III to recall the 10th Parliament this week are a priority for the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.

ABC leader, Nkaku Kabi said this in an interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday afternoon adding that he would do all he can to ensure the success of the process.

He said ABC founder and former Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, had worked tirelessly before retiring as premier in 2020 to push for the reforms.

“The reforms have always been a priority for the ABC, starting with former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane who worked hard to ensure that they come to fruition,” Mr Kabi said.

“We welcome the reopening of parliament. The onus is on us to see to it that the reforms are implemented in full.

“That will help a lot in stabilising government and regulating floor-crossing in parliament. As ABC, we are going to make sure that when parliament adjourns on Monday, all the work would have been completed.”

King Letsie III recalled parliament on Tuesday to sit until 29 August 2022 to pass the much-delayed reforms bills ahead of the 7 October 2022 elections.

Mr Kabi said his ABC party was heading to the polls with optimism but that “it would have been easier if the ABC (faction) in government and ABC as a party worked together”.

“We are going for the elections and things would be better if the ABC in government worked together with ABC the party. Following the national executive committee (NEC) elections of the ABC earlier this year, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, who is so by virtue of being an ABC member, resigned from the executive committee as deputy-leader. His resignation could have been viewed by some members as indicative of a man who did not want to be accountable to the ABC, someone who did not want his government to take mandate from the party.

“He was telling us to forget about him. The message was that while he ran the government under the ABC banner, we must just forget about him. And after prolonged infighting, we reached a point where we resolved to smoke the peace pipe.”

Mr Kabi also criticised the government’s decision to subsidise fuel until December 2022 describing it as short-sighted. The M200 million subsidy should have been used to buy fertiliser for farmers instead, he said.

“If I had become prime minister in January 2022 after the NEC elections, I wouldn’t have done that. Instead, I would have prioritised fertiliser to enable Basotho to produce food for their families and livestock. As we speak, we are approaching October and fertiliser is in short supply.

“We are fragmented but are still ABC. So, I am here boldly saying we are one ABC, where the ABC in government prioritises fuel while we would have prioritised something else.”

Despite Mr Kabi announcing that he and Dr Majoro had mended their relations, the latter has consistently shunned party rallies.

“We have indeed made peace with Dr Majoro. It is good. We communicate and discuss a lot of issues. But to be quite frank with you, when Ntate Majoro says he feels uncomfortable, having gone through what we did as a party, and that he does not feel comfortable to appear before the ABC multitudes, whom he is not sure whether or not he offended, it is understandable. So, he says, let us maintain our friendship while you are in the party and I in government.

“Essentially, he is saying, ‘I don’t feel comfortable appearing in front of people whose mandate I did not take. I have qualified for pension made possible by the same party, whose NEC’s directives I did not heed. I went my own way. As a person, I don’t feel comfortable’.”

Asked which parties the ABC was likely to enter into a coalition with in the event of its failure to outrightly win the elections, Mr Kabi said they had not yet identified potential partners despite “meetings with pretty much all parties”.

“As it stands, we have no partner. We are open to anyone who would come to us expressing their wish to work together. I can safely say all political parties have approached me. I have told the ABC secretary-general (Senator Lebohang Hlaele), to give everybody an ear. I am not closing the door on anyone. It might still be too early for that. My focus and concentration are on election campaigning at the moment,” Mr Kabi said.

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