ABC, DC row escalates

ABC, DC row escalates

MASERU-THE coalition government could be headed for stormy times after squabbles between the two main ruling partners escalated this week.
The All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the Democratic Congress (DC) have traded insults and accusations in the past two weeks, in what appears to be a clear sign that the two are out to outdo each other ahead of the 2022 election.

This week Lebohang Hlaele, the ABC’s secretary general, accused the DC of snubbing their weekly meetings.
And over the weekend DC leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu lashed out at the ABC’s national executive committee for calling on the police to investigate allegations that he was involved in a human trafficking scandal.

The ABC committee made the call at a press conference last Friday.
Mokhuthu then described the statements as the work of “Satanists” working to tarnish his image.
“The king of Satanism is out on a campaign to ruin the DC and its leadership’s image just like they did with the LCD,” Mokhothu tweeted.
“They will not succeed,” he added in what was clearly a salvo at Hlaele.
Mokhothu urged DC members to protect their party against “people who are working with the devil”.

Hlaele has however fired back, saying the ABC had not fabricated the allegations against Mokhuthu but was merely repeating what is in court papers and the media.
Hlaele said the ABC has invited the DC to a meeting this week to discuss “latest issues affecting our government including human trafficking”.

He complained that the DC has stopped attending their weekly meetings.
He said the “issues end up escalating” because of the DC’s refusal to attend their usual Wednesday meetings.
Hlaele said the ABC held the press conference because “the allegations are too heavy and they should be addressed”.

“So far Mokhothu is not guilty, he is just a suspect in the trafficking in persons so he should clean himself in the courts,” Hlaele said.
He said Mokhuthu’s attack on Twitter was personal.
“Next time he should work out issues with the brain not the heart to get the truth,” Hlaele said.

He added that he was speaking on behalf of the ABC and therefore he should not be held personally responsible for the party’s decisions as they are done collectively.
Mokhothu, Hlaele said, should “approach issues with dignity as he is occupying a very sensitive position that needs good behaviour”.
“He should avoid saying insults like we are led by Satanism or the devil. He will never get a chance to withdraw that statement.”

The ABC deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao admitted that there is tension in the government but insisted that the coalition remains stable.
“This is no more than a matter of individuals, therefore if the DC is unhappy, they should meet the ABC and talk,” Professor Mahao said, adding that “the noise will not affect our stability as the government”.
Professor Mahao said they sought intervention from civil society to help mend relations with the DC.

He added that the main source of the problem between DC and ABC is the press conference that was held by the DC earlier accusing the ABC of dragging Metsing and Selibe Mochoboroane to courts on charges of treason.
He also said after the press conference he talked to the DC leader and reminded him that their Wednesday meetings are no longer happening.
“After trying to call such a meeting several times I realised that he was not interested.”

He said they asked other coalition partners to help mediate but to no avail.
Professor Mahao said the DC deputy leader, secretary general and treasurer told him in a meeting last Friday that they are not happy with what the ABC committee said at the press conference.
He said DC officials told him that Mokhuthu would retaliate.
Professor Mahao said he pleaded with the DC leaders to have a meeting with the ABC to resolve their problems.

“Insulting each other might even put the government at stake. Our coalition agreement says there will be several meetings,” he said.
The DC spokesman Serialong Qoo said told thepost he could not comment because the party’s leadership is yet to discuss the issues.

THE All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s national executive committee appears divided over how to handle allegations linking Democratic Congress (DC) leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu to human trafficking.

thepost can reveal that Lebohang Hlaele, the party’s secretary general, is among those who want the ABC and the DC to discuss the allegations against Mokhuthu.
The ABC’s chairman Sam Rapapa is however of the view that there is no point for the two parties to discuss an issue that should be handled by the police.
Hlaele appears to have prevailed, resulting in last Wednesday’s press conference that has only worsened relations between the two parties.
Mokhuthu has called the ABC’s statements at the press conference the work of “Satanists”, an insult that has roiled Hlaele and others in the executive committee.

The ABC held a press conference last week where it stated its stance on the whole issue but Rapapa this week said some in the national executive committee opposed the presser.
“These matters that even involve political leaders must be left for the courts to handle them and make decisions,” Rapapa said.

Rapapa said the ABC national executive committee met earlier last week to discuss the allegations against Mokhuthu but there was a disagreement on how the party should handle the issues.
“I was part of the meeting even though some of us opposed the idea,” he said.
“I was not expecting the press conference because it is wise to let some issues work themselves out especially when there is a law enforcement institution in the country.”
“Let us stop holding press conferences on issues that involve other political party leaders,” he said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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