Mahao lashes ‘dictatorship

Mahao lashes ‘dictatorship

 

MASERU – NEWLY elected All Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao says Lesotho is fast degenerating into a “dictatorship”.
This was probably Mahao’s most vicious and direct attack of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s governance style.
The closure of Parliament and the courts signifies that “the ruler rules alone”, Mahao told supporters at a rally in Leribe’s Pela-Tšoeu constituency last Sunday.
The National Assembly adjourned indefinitely last month just as a motion of no-confidence against Thabane was about to be introduced, raising suspicions that the move was a ploy to protect the Prime Minister, whose party is battling a vicious power struggle.

The courts are also paralysed, with magistrates on strike over poor working conditions and infiltration by the executive among a host of grievances.
The Court of Appeal, on the other hand, has not sat to hear any cases because it has no money, according to High Court Registrar Pontšo Phafoli. Phafoli answers directly to Justice Mahase.
However, the Minister of Justice Mokhele Moletsane, Minister of Finance Dr Moeketsi Majoro and Parliament have disputed Phafoli’s claim saying money is available for the court to function.
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase is yet to deliver judgment on an application filed by members of the Mahao faction to determine control of the party after the new executive that largely leans on Mahao was blocked from exercising control by the old executive.

With the Judiciary and Parliament both paralysed, it means only one arm of government – the Executive – is functioning at an optimum, a situation that undermines the checks and balances envisioned in the principle of separation of powers that defines Lesotho’s democracy.
On Sunday, Mahao said this is unacceptable.
“If courts and Parliament are closed it is a sure sign the ruler rules alone,” Mahao said.
“This is a sign of a dictatorship,” he charged.

Mahao was elected party deputy leader against Thabane’s wishes, who has publicly expressed his dislike for him on several occasions.
As deputy leader, Mahao is in pole position to take over from Thabane once the 79-year-old retires or is removed from power through democratic means.
Thabane has said he wants to rule until 2027, although the debilitating internal party disputes have severely threatened his grip on power while risking the future of his shaky coalition government.

Mahao told his followers on Sunday that the warring factions are failing to find common ground despite intermittent rounds of talks.
The factions have held separate rallies in recent months, although the Prime Minister says rallies organised by Mahao’s faction to compete with his gatherings are in violation of party codes.
Thabane’s faction was supposed to hold a rally in Taung constituency last Sunday but cancelled the event because Thabane had to attend to other business.
At his Sunday rally, Mahao claimed Thabane had said party members should call him for a meeting any time problems arose but is now reneging on that commitment.
“While opening the talks, our leader said if any problems arise, he should be called and we asked him to come (last) Tuesday to solve the issue,” he said.
Mahao said members of the ABC are aware of some political parties in the country that collapsed and lost power because of internal fights. The ABC could go the same route if current differences are not resolved, he said.
“Let us be one political party that will be an exception in that bad history, we should unite and become one,” he said

Nkheli Liphoto

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