Why the  ABC  is in crisis

Why the ABC is in crisis

THE ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), the biggest partner in the coalition government, is never far away from controversy.
Last week, the party was thrown into turmoil after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro reshuffled Cabinet.

Some members of the party’s powerful but divided decision-making body, the National Executive Committee, were apoplectic with rage claiming they were not consulted.
In a move that vividly illustrates the rampant indiscipline with the government, ministers who serve under Majoro openly demanded that the premier reverses the new appointments.

That clearly demonstrated the dysfunctional nature of the Majoro-led administration. We all know that ministers serve at the mercy of the appointing authority, who in this case is the Prime Minister.
Majoro’s problems did not come as a surprise, however.
Here is a Prime Minister who has no solid support base within the ABC. Majoro was thrust into office as a compromise candidate by warring factions of the party. And when he wants to assert his authority, hawks within the party are beginning to threaten to pull the rug under his feet.

With former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane still wielding massive influence within the structures of the party, Majoro remains extremely vulnerable.
By allowing Thabane to remain as party leader, the ABC created two centres of power, a toxic formula that has proved woefully inadequate in stabilising the government.

Majoro does not sit in the NEC. He feels he is not under any obligation to consult that organ of the party before making decisions.
The NEC however feels that it is being marginalised.
A meddlesome Thabane, 82, who had been mistakenly written off as a spent-force politically, continues to stir trouble in the background for Majoro.

It is apparent that several key MPs are still rooting for the “grand old-man” of Lesotho politics.
Egged on by these cheerleaders, Thabane has proved to be a disruptive force within the party. With his loyal support base, Thabane surprisingly remains a potent force within the ABC.

That is why every politician in the ABC still wants him in their corner.
It is precisely due to all these factors that the ABC finds itself in the middle of a crisis. The situation has deteriorated so badly that it could now spill over into open violence. The events of last week could be a harbinger of what is likely to visit the party in the near future.
That is really sad.

All these problems, in our opinion, stem from the unresolved leadership question within the ABC.
By patching up their differences to retain political power last year, the ABC leadership merely postponed the inevitable.
A year after that deal that saw Majoro being appointed premier, the embers continue to burn slowly under the feet of the ABC gurus. Now everyone is uncomfortable.

Majoro clearly has an impossible job.
By shuffling ministers, Majoro could have been trying to consolidate his grip on power by rewarding loyalists while punishing critics.
It’s also clear that Majoro already has one eye on the next elections in 2022. That is why Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader, Keketso Rantso, was conveniently sacrificed to make room for one such loyalist.
But the ABC is fast running out of time and options.

By 2020, the party would have been in power for a full five years. Has the party done enough to justify another five-year term?
That is the question that confronts Majoro. Unless he starts delivering on his party’s electoral promises, Majoro should expect a big whack at the polls, come 2022.

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