A tale of two fortunes?

A tale of two fortunes?

MASERU – WAS this a tale of contrasting fortunes for the warring factions in the All Basotho Convention (ABC)?
The rally that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was allegedly supposed to attend in Qeme turned out to be a damp squib, with a small crowd that fit into a small tent.

Some read the low turnout to be a reflection of the discontent with Thabane and the faction allegedly aligned to him.
But that might be stretching it because there is no evidence that Thabane was supposed to attend that rally. What can be proved is that the rally was organised by Health Minister Nkaku Kabi who is also the MP for Qeme.

It is not clear which faction Kabi is rooting for.
The cold reception he received from the few supporters could be a sign of anger at him as an MP rather than at the Prime Minister.
But that distinction doesn’t seem to matter to those who have appointed themselves scorekeepers in the battles rocking the ABC. So going forth, rallies will be compared and ‘points’ will be allocated.

While Kabi was being pelted with questions by irate supporters, Professor Nqosa Mahao, the new ABC deputy leader, was basking in newfound glory at a massive rally in Lithabaneng.

While the rally in Qeme cannot be explicitly linked to a faction, the one in Lithabaneng was blatant in its leaning. It had been called by Prof Mahao’s committee whose entry into office is being frustrated by the old committee that is said to be in league with Thabane.
Nearly the entire new committee was present. There were also some 11 MPs from the ABC.
The tone was defiant as speakers issued a rallying cry for the multitudes of supporters to stand with the new committee.
It was clear whose rally this was.

The new committee was testing its popularity with the members.
Prof Mahao said it was his brother Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao’s death that galvanised the ABC supporters who cast their ballots to deliver the votes that carried the party into government. He said it was ironic that the same people who benefited from that vote are now blocking his rise in the ABC.

“The newly elected committee is thwarted from taking over the office just because amongst them there is Nqosa Mahao,” he said.
“They say I am going to revenge.”

He said he found this allegation absurd because two of the country’s former prime ministers had their relatives killed but have never sought revenge.

Although he did not say who he was referring to it is common knowledge that the murder of former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s son, Maile Mosisili, remains unsolved 17 years later.

It is also widely known that two days before Thabane’s inauguration in 2017, his wife was gunned down and no arrests have been made.
Prof Mahao said he is the one who requested the government to appointment foreign judges to preside over the case of his brother’s case.
“I did this because in Lesotho we are so much related and I did not want any perceptions that the case fell this or that way because a judge was conflicted.”

“I wanted full transparency so that no one is accused (of bias) after judgment has been handed down.”
He said real revenge is seen in how the old committee is trying to expel Lebohang Hlaele, the new secretary general, from the party for flimsy reasons.

Samonyane Ntsekele, the outgoing secretary general, accuses Hlaele of fraudulently acquiring the party’s stamp and using it to appoint a lawyer to represent the new committee.

“After losing the election, we heard that a letter expelling Hlaele from the party was being drafted, that is what I call revenge,” he said.
Prof Mahao appealed to the ABC followers to respect the decisions of the elective conference.
He also said those claiming that the elections were rigged were wrong “because they (old committee) were the ones who prepared the voters’ roll”.

He said for one to be at Lehakoe Recreational Centre, the election venue, they had to have a tag. The admission tags were issued by the people who are now complaining, he said.

Quashing the insinuation that Thabane has not officially closed the elective conference and therefore the newly elected committee does not have any powers, he said even the conferences that elected the youth and women’s committees were not officially closed but they are running the affairs of their respective leagues.

Speaking at the same rally, Hlaele said the supporters should defend their leader and party.
“We are here to protect our party against anyone who tries to capture it and we do not care who does it, we just protect,” Hlaele said.
Hlaele also said they know that it is not Thabane who is wreaking havoc in their party.

He said there are people who are pretending to love their leader while in actual fact they do not love him.
“They merely have their own interests,” Halele said.

He said he was told to withdraw from contesting for the secretary general’s position at the State House so that he would not compete against Ntsekele.

“I refused to do as they commanded,” he said. Hlaele also revealed that on the first day of election there was a plan to assassinate him.
“It is just a matter of time and if I die I want all ABC members to go and bury me. And maybe my blood would rescue you,” he said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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