Thabane plots new deal

Thabane plots new deal

MASERU – PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane is allegedly cobbling a new coalition government that will include former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.
This has triggered fears that Thabane might have had a change of heart over his plans to leave office in July.
It is alleged that Thabane’s deal will not include the Basotho National Party (BNP), one of his current coalition partners.
He is bringing in Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Selibe Mochoboroane’s Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
Thabane is said to have discussed the impending coalition with All Basotho Convention (ABC) ministers at the State House on Tuesday. The ABC national executive committee is not part of the deal.

The details of the Tuesday meeting were revealed by ABC spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa who accused Thabane of cutting deals behind the national executive committee’s back.
Masoetsa, who was not in the meeting, said some ministers called committee members to share the details of the meeting.
He said they heard that there were meetings to prepare for the coalition. The first meeting, Masoetsa said, was last Friday and another on Sunday evening after Thabane’s rally in Abia.

Masoetsa said Thabane announced the deal at the Tuesday meeting. He said several ministers who attended the meeting told him that Thabane had said the ABC is now working with the LCD and the MEC.
He however said the committee will not accept the deal because the current coalition had not collapsed.
“So far we have not heard of any problems in the current coalition.”

He said the NEC was supposed to meet next Wednesday but might reschedule to an earlier day because of the confusion.
It is hard to pin down what Thabane said in the meeting.
Several ministers who attended the meeting said they had been told to keep the details of the meeting secret.
Others said what Masoetsa announced is correct.

One Minister told thepost that Thabane was clear that the deal had been signed.
“I don’t know why some people are denying something that the Prime Minister clearly said in the meeting,” the minister said.
“He (Thabane) was asking us to support the deal. I am now confused because other people are now denying what we all heard. Maybe it’s because the leader said it was confidential.”

The Minister of Small Businesses, Chalane Phori, who is also the ABC deputy chairman, confirmed the meeting but denied that a new coalition was discussed.
He said Thabane was telling them how to behave since he is about to step down.
“It is not true that there is a new coalition deal. When there is a change people will know,” Phori said.
“The problem is just that there are some people who are out of control,” he said.

He said he was referring to those who “connive with police to chase the Prime Minister and his wife and now they are scared”.
“Instead of confusing the nation they should talk about people who take the Prime Minister to courts of law.”
Last night Mochoboroane said there have been discussions to start talking about a coalition but he doesn’t believe a deal is imminent.
He said he knows that there “is an intention to open doors for negotiation”.

“Some of us have been approached but our stance has always been that any deal should include all of us in the opposition,” he said.
“Anyone who wants to talk to us should come to use as a group, not one or two parties.”
The Basotho National Party (BNP) deputy leader Machesetsa Mofomobe said they have heard that a new coalition has been mooted.
Mofomobe said the BNP will not join any other coalition “because such a government is intending to protect people who have to appear before the courts over their alleged crimes”.

“We have even heard that there will be an amnesty for the people who have committed crimes,” Mofomobe said.
The LCD’s secretary general, Teboho Sekata, said he was not aware of the deal but his party has always insisted that only a government of national unity will solve Lesotho’s political and economic problems.

Nkheli Liphoto

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