‘We are ready to forgive you’ – Thabane told
THE newly elected executive committee (NEC) of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) says it is ready to forgive its leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane “for all his wrongs even though he has not asked for forgiveness”.
But Lebohang Hlalele, the new ABC secretary general, says his NEC would first seek to engage the veteran leader to find out why he agreed to sign their dismissal letters, allegedly at the instigation of former secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele.
Mr Hlaele, a son-in-law to Dr Thabane, said with a hint of sarcasm that they would consider seeking a court order to gain access to the heavily guarded premier “because we don’t want to be shot by his bodyguards”.
He said this while addressing a well-attended rally in Literapeng, Leribe, at the weekend.
The Leribe rally was the new NEC’s first after last Wednesday’s High Court judgement which confirmed them into office after dismissing a court case against their February 2019 election.
Despite winning the court case, Prof Mahao and his colleagues were given a three day ultimatum by Dr Thabane to explain why they should not be expelled from the ABC for alleged insubordination.
However, they had not responded to Dr Thabane by Saturday — the last day of the ultimatum, and a day before the rally. They were subsequently “expelled” from the party on Monday — a move they have vowed to resist. (See lead story). At the Sunday rally the new NEC officials had vowed not to be intimidated by the ‘show cause’ letters.
Mr Hlaele said they were ready to forgive Dr Thabane for the letters and other wrongs he said his father-in-law had committed.
He however said for that to happen, the NEC would have to engage the veteran leader to find out why he agreed to sign the letters at the alleged instigation of Mr Ntsekele because the latter was no longer a member of the party.
“We are ready to bury the hatchet and forgive the leader of the party for all his wrongs even though he has not asked for forgiveness.
“However, we need to know where he got these letters that he signed because Ntsekele is no longer a member of the ABC. We know that the leader is always heavily guarded but we shall access him through a court order (if necessary) because we don’t want to run the risk of being shot by his bodyguards,” said Mr Hlaele who is married to Dr Thabane’s daughter; Advocate ‘Mabatšoeneng Hlaele.
Prof Mahao echoed Mr Hlaele’s sentiments, saying the new NEC was not intimidated by the move to serve them with the letters.
“Now that the new NEC is in office, those ‘show cause’ letters we received don’t scare us at all. We will weather the storm as we’ve already been through a lot.
“We’ve already wasted a lot of time and we need to start working now. “We have plans and very soon we will hold a conference to review the party constitution and this will be followed by a policy conference,” Prof Mahao said.
Prof Mahao thanked ABC legislators, lawyers and party supporters who stood with them in the aftermath of the February party polls.
“Americans have a special day for thanksgiving offerings but we have nothing much to offer except to be thankful to the Lord and our ancestors. The Lord has been very good to us and we are very grateful that you (ABC supporters) never tired and stood by us through thick and thin, trusting us for the truth that we stood for.
“Today we convey our thanks because we have ascended the mountain and reached its summit. We have always made our stand clear and trusted in the Lord knowing that the truth cannot be hidden.
Prof Mahao also reiterated his call for unity within the fractious party, saying they had engaged the Christian Council of Lesotho and the ABC’s coalition partners “to broker peace and unite us”.
However, his plea for unity appears to have been spurned particularly by Dr Thabane who moved to “expel” Prof Mahao, Mr Hlaele, chairperson Samuel Rapapa, spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa and deputy spokesperson ‘Matebatso Doti on Monday.
Acting as though he had a premonition of what was to come the next day, Mr Rapapa focused his Sunday address on the disintegration of the ABC.
He began by lifting up two books for the audience to see; ‘The Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe’ (by Geoff Nyarota) and ‘The Fall of the ANC’ (by Mzukisi Qobo and Prince Mashele).
He also alluded to South African writer Justice Malala’s book, ‘We Have Now Begun Our Descent’ when he told party supporters that, “our party has begun its descent”.
He said the content and meaning of those books captured the unstable political situation in Lesotho. He then dramatically threw the books to the ground as though to symbolise the disintegration of the ABC.
Mr Rapapa has previously raised the book; the ‘Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe” to imply that Dr Thabane — just like his former counterpart in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe — is likely to fall because of the destructive role of his wife, ’Maesaiah Thabane, in government affairs.