FORMER Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, will step down as leader of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).
Announcing the decision on 31 December 2021 in Maseru, the 82-year-old Mr Thabane said he will step down at the party’s conference which will be held on 28 January 2022. Mr Thabane has led the ABC since its formation in 2006.
His departure is likely to worsen divisions within the fractious ruling party as bigwigs will jostle for the top job. Current ABC deputy leader and Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro could throw his hat into the ring. However, he is at loggerheads with Mr Thabane and his allies who dominate the party’s national executive committee. On 2 December 2021, the ABC NEC voted to recall Dr Majoro but the latter refused to step down as prime minister. The party had already resolved that the 28 January 2022 conference will discuss Dr Majoro’s fate, with some Thabane loyalists said to be angling for his expulsion from the party. It remains to be seen if ex-cabinet minister, Nkaku Kabi, who had been chosen by the Thabane faction to replace Dr Majoro as premier will contest the ABC leader’s post. Two other senior officials who could throw their hats into the ring are chairperson, Samuel Rapapa and secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele. Mr Rapapa has made no secret of his desire to contest the post once Mr Thabane goes. Insiders say Mr Hlaele, a son-in-law to Mr Thabane, has been eying the post for a long time. He has been using his position as secretary general to build up his power base with a view to taking over the leadership, the insiders say.