Writing on the wall for Thabane

Writing on the wall for Thabane

The writing is now certainly on the wall for Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his coalition partners after they narrowly lost a vote in Parliament this week.
On the surface, Monday’s vote might appear unrelated to the vicious power struggle within Thabane’s ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party that has rumbled on for the past six months.
We would be naïve to make that assumption.
In fact, Monday’s vote is likely to be a precursor of what will happen if Thabane is subjected to a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. For the first time in six months, we got to see who has the numbers and who does not.

The government, which wanted Parliament to proceed discussing the Reforms Bill, lost 49 to 56 votes against the opposition. That was a decisive victory for the opposition.
What is telling is that a group of MPs, aligned to Professor Nqosa Mahao, voted against the government.
It is also clear that the opposition is not relenting in its push to oust Thabane through a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.
While SADC would want Lesotho to move on with the reforms, it would appear the opposition’s main focus at present is to kick out Thabane and deal with the reforms later.
Any other option would give the impression that SADC is interested in saving Thabane’s political skin by buying time for him.
That is why it will take mammoth persuasive powers on the part of SADC envoy Justice Moseneke to coax the opposition to drop their position. They simply want Thabane out.
One of the key reasons why they want Thabane out is that they think at 80, the premier has totally lost control of the ship of state. A cabal, led by the Prime Minister’s wife, ’Maesiah, is now in firm control.
But what perhaps miffed most party loyalists was that instead of upholding the tenets of democracy within his own party, Thabane has openly sided with a faction that lost power at the party’s elective conference in February.

Fed up with Thabane’s shenanigans, a number of MPs within his own party have now switched allegiances to the Professor Mahao-led faction, dealing a mortal blow to the ageing leader.
Surprisingly, Thabane however remains in denial.
That is why his ABC party last week embarked on a process of “filling” positions within the national executive committee that were left vacant after the expulsion of Mahao and his allies.
The circus within the once great party continues.
On the other hand, the Mahao camp has been emboldened by an opinion articulated by Attorney General Haae Phofoolo that the Speaker of Parliament was wrong to block the no-confidence motion against Thabane.

With the battle lines clearly drawn, we can only expect more fireworks when Parliament eventually re-opens.
Thabane and his allies appear cornered.
How long will Thabane and his allies manage to keep Parliament shut?
We can only expect more pressure from SADC and the international community over the matter. Eventually Thabane must bite the bullet, subject himself to the no-confidence vote or dissolve Parliament and call a fresh election.
There are no two ways about this.

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