Chickens have come to roost

Chickens have come to roost

FOR a long time the, All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, has been idolised by his followers.
But things have taken a dramatic shift in recent months.
A significant number of those who adore him have become frustrated and disillusioned by his leadership.
Blame that on the fiasco that has engulfed the ABC, a party he formed in 2006.
Today it is not uncommon to hear some of his most ardent supporters calling for his removal. Others openly insult him while some have taken to social medical to fire salvos at him. Indeed, Thabane is no longer the darling he was.

One could safely say Thabane is at the end of his political career that spanned nearly half a century.
How did it all come to this sad ending?
The events of the past weekend are a culmination of the crises that have haunted the party since the elective conference in February.
At their special conference on Friday night Professor Nqosa Mahao’s faction suspended Thabane for six years, a move that only added more wood to this blazing pyre.
The gloves are off.
On Sunday the two factions held separate rallies in keeping with the trend of the past five months.
But what was different on Sunday is that the two rallies were both held by ABC “leaders.” The rally in Qeme was held by the ‘suspended’ leader (Thabane) while the one in Peka was held by the ‘interim’ party leader (Mahao).

The persistence and stubbornness of the two factions has roused a fracas that is threatening the security and stability of the country.
Thabane warned that the chaos could lead to bloodshed.
It was a chilling warning that should startle many people.
Thus far it is clear that Thabane has not bothered to strive for peace with his nemeses.
And it doesn’t look like he is interested in offering an olive branch.
Part of the reason for this obstinacy could be his confidence that the people are still firmly in his corner.
Indeed there are still pockets of supporters who believe he can do no wrong.
Even as the party crumbles, such people believe that it is not Thabane’s fault.
Instead they say he is being ill-advised.

It is also the belief of the Mahao faction that Thabane can work with them but the problem is his wife who they see as exerting pressure on the aging leader.
Professor Mahao said the same in his interview with the SABC.
In that interview Prof Mahao minced no words as he painted a gloomy picture of Lesotho under Thabane. Prof. Mahao said the situation Grace Mugabe created in Zimbabwe is child’s play compared to what Lesotho is facing with its First Lady.
You can deduce from Pro Mahao’s words that he believes that Thabane is a good person being led astray by his wife.
But events of the past five months show that the tide is turning against Thabane.
For a long time, Thabane has always gotten away with doing as he pleases amidst the cheering and ululations of his followers. When Lehlohonolo Tšehlane pointed out some of the leader’s shortcomings he was insulted and pushed from the party.

The same happened to Mophato Monyake and Tlali Khasu.
They were all labelled troublemakers out to topple Thabane.
Just like their counterparts in the congress parties, the ABC cabals have always fought tooth and nail to protect their leader.
They ignored his flaws and blamed others for what went wrong in the party.
Unfortunately for Thabane the February elective conference seems to have brought a new wave of revolution borne out of the realisation that a leader is not infallible.
It is a trying time for Thabane who has enjoyed being venerated for most of his reign in the party.
The proverbial chickens have come to roost as his followers are now speaking up when he goes ‘astray’. Thabane is obvious shocked because he is not used to people criticising him and aggressively pushing back on his decisions.

It however remains to be seen who will be the last man standing between Thabane and Prof. Mahao. It is now clear that the battle lines have been drawn and there is definitely no turning back. It is clear as daylight that the ABC factions will never reconcile.
As a nation, we wait with baited breath to see who will win this battle.
It is yet the dawn of another sad day in Lesotho as she is facing the split of another major party. We are faced with a very sad reality of a looming national election amidst the trying economic times. It is sad that our political leaders fail to lead a population of just two million people into being a peaceful and prosperous nation.
We have been here before and we are here again.
The merry-go-round doesn’t help this country.

Kelello Rakolobe

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