The ABC must clean up its house

The ABC must clean up its house

The Thomas Thabane-led coalition government might be hanging by the spider thread if the events of the All Basotho Convention’s internal elections and the subsequent National Executive Committee (NEC) press conference (affectionately called ‘There is a Mofokeng on my stoep’ by ABC detractors) are anything to go by.
The ABC as a party is not facing controversy around the election of the National Executive Committee for the first time. The maiden challenge that the party endured was when it sacked its then Secretary General Billy Macaefa. Macaefa, who was the leader of the Lesotho Workers Party (LWP), was elected on secondment to the position of ABC SG around 2007 when his party formed an electoral pact with the ABC during the national assembly elections.

The ABC-LWP pact ended abruptly after the intervention of former president of Botswana, Ketumile Masire, on behalf of SADC to address the impasse in the Lesotho politics following the 2007 national assembly elections. Masire declared that the pacts between the ABC-LWP and LCD-NIP were not in accordance with the law and defied the spirit of proportional representation.
The sacking of Macaefa was very controversial and a lot of bickering took place between him and the ABC stalwarts. At some point Macaefa even complained that he was not dismissed for incompetence as the ABC wanted to portray, rather he was being ‘sabotaged ’ by certain individuals that did not want to see him doing his secretarial duties well. At the end of the day, he gave in and left the ABC.
The recent events within the ABC seem to be a repeat of what we saw in the party when Macaefa locked horns with the ABC. The first hurdle was that of the ABC vs Korokoro constituency war that left our courts of law vulnerable to political scrutiny and ridicule. I will not dwell much on the issue of courts as it is a topic for another day.

There was again the involvement of the LCN and TRC. The involvement of these two organisations in the ABC elections has been highly supported by some and highly criticised by others. Needless to say, the utterings of the TRC on its official page seem to be sowing more distress and discomfort in the ABC than helping the party.
For instance, on their Facebook page they wrote “if you fail to manage your own political party, how would you manage the broader issues of administration of state? People must take responsibility and stop using (the) LCN as scapegoat.”
This statement came after some of the ABC members complained that the LCN was not impartial in running the ABC NEC elections. Such statements are reckless and will do nothing to resolve the problem at hand.

Moreover, another spate of events that rocked the ABC is the barring out of office of the newly elected NEC. Just like Macaefa who was at some point unable to access the office of secretary general, the new NEC found itself holding a press conference outdoors because somebody had decided to ‘disappear’ with the office keys.

It remains to be seen whether the new NEC will ever set its foot in the office. It also remains to be seen which of the two warring groups, the former NEC and the new NEC, will come out victorious. My fear is if the Macaefa situation repeats itself and others are pushed so hard that they leave the party, the government of Lesotho will be adversely affected.
It is important to remember that when the ABC sneezes, the coalition government catches a cold. Basotho have had enough of snap elections that occur every time the politicians fail to amicably solve their differences. Unlike when the ABC pushed out Macaefa, this time whoever is pushed has potential to disrupt the government operations and that is likely to drive the country to a third snap election in a period of less than ten years.

Lesotho is currently going through political reforms even though we seem to be moving at a snail’s pace. Going for elections now would not be in the best interests of Lesotho at all. Just like the 2015, and 2017 snap elections, the elections would definitely not benefit Lesotho especially when the laws governing Parliament and elections have still not changed.

On that note I really beg the ABC leadership to just once in their lives deeply think about what will benefit Basotho and Lesotho not just themselves. I also urge the NGOs, especially since they were engaged during the ABC NEC electoral process to embark on work towards reconciliation between the two NECs that are now at loggerheads.

An ABC split, just like the DC split in 2016 will not benefit Basotho in anyway. Rather it will plunge us into more poverty as the country has to cough up more millions to hold unnecessary elections. I therefore humbly plead with the ABC as the leading party in this coalition government to put its house in order. The party may have successfully pushed out Macaefa when they no longer wanted to work with him, but this time the tables have turned – the new NEC is not Macaefa.

Kelello Rakolobe


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