I’ll fight back, says Maliehe

I’ll fight back, says Maliehe

MASERU – FIRED Tourism Minister, Motlohi Maliehe, says he is ready to fight back.
Maliehe said his fight will be against what he calls “overwhelming corruption within the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the coalition government”.
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane fired Maliehe this week in what is seen as an apogee of the internal squabbles that have rocked the ABC in recent months.
Maliehe however remains the chairperson of the ABC because he can only be removed by the party’s general conference.
He remains defiant even as he is out of cabinet and his future in the ruling party hangs by a thread.

Maliehe said he has no plans to leave the ABC because he believes he has the capacity to change it from within.
“I will stick around and fight for what is right. I will fight everyone who is involved in corruption. And if my leader is involved in corruption I will fight him too.”
The ABC stalwart said he is not going to “rally behind people who don’t respect the rules and values of the party”.

He said his dismissal was instigated by people “who now know that I know much more about the rot in both the government and the party.”
He said he was kicked out of cabinet because he is fighting corruption in the coalition government. And although he is not bitter about his removal he is appalled at the motive behind the decision, he said.

“This is about my fight against corruption. The corruption in this government is shocking. I will continue to fight it,” Maliehe said.
The former minister said during the time he spent as minister he has come to the conclusion that “this government is far more corrupt than the previous ones.”
“It’s even worse than Mosisili’s government. I mean far much worse and I am not afraid to say it because that is the truth.”
What disappoints him the most, he said, is that “we came to power with strong promises to fight corruption but we have failed to live up to our word”.
The problem, he added, is that the ABC has “lost its soul”.

“The leader (Thabane) is not following the rules and manifesto of the party. We need to go back to the original values of the ABC.”
Maliehe said he believes that the party has been tainted by a corrupt cabal bent on milking government funds through corrupt deals.
“Tenders are being rigged.”

He said the dishonest in the ABC have diverted the party’s focus from service delivery and job creation.
“The result is that we are not delivering services to our people and we are not creating jobs. The few jobs that remain are being handed to politically connected people.”
ABC secretary general, Samonyane Ntsekele, could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press last night. His phone was not available.
Government spokesperson, Nthakeng Selinyane, said ….

Maliehe said he feels betrayed by Thabane because they have worked together for decades.
He said he realised that relations had soured when Thabane stopped answering his calls.
“When I spoke about his wife he told the media that I had already fired myself. I knew I was on my way out.”

“But even before that he was no longer talking to me. And when I called he would not answer and when I sent messages he would not respond.”
A few months ago Maliehe accused the First Lady of corruption, fanning divisions in the party and interfering with government operations.
Thabane responded by saying Maliehe was abusing his goodwill and had therefore fired himself.

Maliehe said even before his controversial remarks about the First Lady he knew that his relationship with the prime minister had collapsed.
“They would have party meetings without me even though I am the chairman. I am a minister but they would have cabinet meetings, especially at the State House, without my knowledge.”
He however said he does not regret his attack on the First Lady. “I have no regrets whatsoever. I would say the same thing and I will say it again if the circumstances dictate.”

Staff Reporter

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