Thabane to step down

Thabane to step down

MASERU – PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has agreed to step down as leader of both the coalition government and the All Basotho Convention (ABC), party spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa has said.
Masoetsa told thepost last night that Thabane talked to the cabinet on Tuesday about his decision to vacate the office of premier.
“Today he broke the news to the ABC parliamentary caucus,” said Masoetsa who was not in the caucus but said he was briefed by MPs who were present.
“Tomorrow he is meeting the party’s executive committee.”
“We have never stopped seeking his stepping down as we highlighted that in our recent press conference.”

Masoetsa said although Parliament has the final say on Thabane’s replacement it is the ABC that will provide a candidate as it is the one leading the coalition government.
He said what they are now going to focus on is to work around a smooth step down of their leader Thabane from the party’s leadership.

He said they are yet to hold the party’s special conference that will determine who will take over from Thabane.
The factions met at the old State House yesterday to patch their differences that started last February after the party’s hotly contested National Executive Committee (NEC) election.
Another faction was for Thabane while the other was for his deputy, Professor Nqosa Mahao.
The Private Secretary to Thabane’s office, Thabo Thakalekoala, however said as the office they do not have any information suggesting that Thabane was in the process of stepping down.
“What we know is that he is still in office,” Thakalekoala said.

Masoetsa said they are going to hold a press conference today to announce the way forward.
Asked what has brought them together in the party, Masoetsa said the other faction reached out and said they want to smoke the peace pipe for the sake of the party.
“They told us that there is a problem within the party and the government when it comes to service delivery,” he said.
“Generally l think problems rocking the party are what have brought them to us,” Masoetsa said.

He however said he believes Maesiah Thabane’s case might have also contributed to bringing the factions together.
The two factions made peace as Thabane faces pressure to resign following his wife ’Maesiah Thabane’s unfolding legal troubles.
The police want to arrest ’Maesiah Thabane for the murder of Thabane’s wife Lipolelo Thabane in 2017. She has since disappeared but her legal team is seeking to block her warrant of arrest.
“We have told them face to face that we are not going to interfere with court proceedings,” Masoetsa said.

The ABC deputy chairperson, Chalane Phori, who was in Thabane’s faction, declined to comment when asked what drove them to come together.
He referred the paper to Masoetsa. Fako Moshoeshoe, the chairman of the ABC’s parliamentary caucus, was reluctant to comment on Masoetsa’s revelation that Thabane had agreed to resign.

He however said the caucus made three resolutions. The first resolution, he said, was that the party will work as one unit.
The second was that the new executive committee will start working while the third is that the party will have a press conference today.

“As for this issue of retiring or resigning, I cannot say much. The caucus was however clear that he will have to first communicate that decision to the party members before making the decision,” Moshoeshoe said.
“We as the MPs will then decide who among us will become Prime Minister. That, however, can only be done when Parliament opens.”
thepost tried to verify Masoetsa’s statement with several other MPs who were in the caucus meeting but they all referred questions back to him.

Majara Molupe

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