Mahao begs for forgiveness

Mahao begs for forgiveness

MASERU – Professor Nqosa Mahao says the divided All Basotho Convention (ABC) party faces embarrassment at the polls if elections are held right away.
Mahao was speaking at a rally held in ’Maletsunyane constituency last Sunday.
He said Basotho are angry after the government last year passed draconian legislation to regulate the wool and mohair industry.

The Wool and Mohair Regulations 2018 made it illegal for Lesotho’s farmers to sell their commodities to South Africa.
Instead they were supposed to sell to a Chinese businessman who dismally failed to keep his side of the bargain.

Mahao begged Basotho voters to forgive his ABC MPs who voted for the regulations in Parliament.
His plea for forgiveness comes at a time when Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, is facing a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.
Thabane is likely to advise King Letsie III to dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections within 90 days should he lose the vote.

That election would likely come at a time when the ABC is deeply divided, a fact Mahao alluded to when he spoke at the rally in ’Maletsunyane.
Mahao said an election under the current conditions would likely result in major embarrassment for the ABC. The party will likely face stiff competition from a rejuvenated Democratic Congress (DC) party.

He said the party’s MPs and ministers did not handle the issue of Basotho farmers with care over the past two years when they were in government.
Mahao said the party’s performance in government has been a major disappointment.
“We have to do something as our followers are leaving the party to (join) other parties,” Mahao said.

Just last month, the DC welcomed over 1 000 new supporters in the ’Maletsunyane constituency alone, while over 4 000 people joined the party in other seven constituencies during the leader’s rallies.
Most of those who joined the DC were from rural areas and it is believed many of them defected from the ruling four parties angry over how the government had dealt with the wool and mohair issues.

The ABC and its allies in government – the Alliance of Democrats (AD), the Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) – vigorously defended the Wool and Mohair Regulations despite protests from farmers.
ABC MPs who are now rallying behind Mahao only turned against the government’s wool policy after their relations with Thabane soured in February this year.

The MPs have now publicly apologised for backing the policy.
Worried about the mass exodus of members who are tired of destructive factionalism within the party, Mahao said “something needs to be done to address the situation”.
“We have to clean this party,” he said.
He said the push for the unpopular wool and mohair regulations was not done by the party but by some individuals who were within the ABC.

“But because they did it under the ABC, I am asking for forgiveness on their behalf,” Mahao said.
He said about 37 percent of youths in Lesotho are in dire need of jobs.
“It is unnecessary that we changed the way people earned a living under our gorvenment” Mahao said.
He said they heard the farmers’ outcry over the new regulations.
Following the outcry, Mahao said he went to sheering centres in Qeme, Rothe and Ramabanta and talked to the famers.
He said they realised that the government bungled over how it dealt with the farmers.

Mahao said the farmers told them to push for a repeal of the wool and mohair regulations when Parliament re-opens on October 18.
He said the wool and mohair regulations should allow everyone who wants to trade to do so.
’Maletsunyane constituency’s main means of survival is wool and mohair farming.

Nkheli Liphoto

 

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