‘Thabane too ill to lead party’

‘Thabane too ill to lead party’

MASERU-TWO members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) executive committee say party leader Thomas Thabane is too ill to continue leading the party.
The two have filed an urgent High Court application seeking an order to remove Thabane as leader because of ill-health.

Sekhonyana Mosenene and Thabo Sekonyela, who are members of the party’s executive committee, want the court to declare that Thabane “is not fit to continue discharging functions of the leader of the political party on account of his illness”.
They also want Thabane “disqualified from participating, acting, signing documents, attending meetings, making decisions and acts of similar nature on behalf of the party or about the party” “due to his state of health”.

That interdict, the trio argues, should remain in force until a new party leader is elected.
It is not clear what kind of illness the two are referring to but his wife, Maesaiah, is on record as having said he suffers from Alzheimer’s, a mental disease commonly associated with old age.

Maesaiah, who is also cited in the court papers, made the revelation last year when applying for bail after her arrest for the 2017 murder of Thabane’s wife Lipolelo.
Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s include loss of memory, difficulties with decision-making, judgement, problem-solving as well as producing or understanding language.

Other symptoms include loss of ability to learn new information, senility, depression as well as confusion about time and place.
’Maesaiah also told the court that Thabane was critically ill because he had just had a prostate operation and suffered from incontinence.
But despite those claims the 82-year-old appears agile for his age.
He has continued to address executive committee meetings where he has demonstrated that he had lost none of his political shrewdness.

The former prime minister has repeatedly tried to turn the executive committee against Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro. On four occasions he aggressively pushed for a vote to remove Majoro as prime minister.
The court case, filed on Tuesday, should be seen in the context of that battle.
The plan appears to be to neutralise his influence in the committee where he openly leads a camp hell-bent on ousting Majoro.

Thabane’s absence from the committee would significantly defang his camp.
The lawsuit is also meant to reduce the number of pro-Thabane members in the committee.
Mosenene and Sekonyela want ’Malelaka Lehohla (women’s league president), Tšoloane Maphasa (youth league chairman) and Makopoi Mohapi barred from participating in the committee until the case is finalised and their positions are constitutionally filled.

They are asking that the Master of the High Court appoints a person to manage Thabane’s affairs, except those of the party because it can manage in terms of its constitution in the absence of Thabane.
Thabane’s backers in the committee are however pushing back, with ABC spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa calling Mosenene and Sekonyela “mere trojan horses”.

“They are not the real applicants because they are just being used as a front,” said Masoetsa, who has since broken ranks with the faction that supports deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao.
“They are just fronts, the real owner of the case will be known as times goes on,” Masoetsa said.
“We know each other that is why we know that they are just a front.”
He said the constitution allows the youth committee chairman and the women’s league chairman to attend executive meetings.

“Where there are conflicts the truth always falls victim. The people who are talking have forgotten that Thabane has been complaining of not being invited to committee meetings”.
“Thabane is the leader and chairman of the committee no matter what happens he should be invited to its meetings”.
Youth league chairman Maphasa, who is one of the respondents, said Mosenene and Sekonyela “are wasting their time on conflicts and disagreements”.

Maphasa said they will only be removed from office by the party’s elective conference.
“I wonder who will benefit from the case that is wasting our time,” Maphasa said.
He also said if the infighting does not stop the ABC will lose elections next year.

“Basotho will punish us for our never-ending conflicts,” Maphasa said.
The attempt to get Thabane’s supporters removed from the committee is important because the numbers are evenly matched.
Without the three members Thabane’s camp will not be able to muster enough numbers to force the committee to recall Majoro.

The camp fighting for Majoro has won previous votes by a slim margin.
The lawsuit brings a new dimension to what has been a gruelling battle for power.
Court cases and mediation have failed to end the battles, leaving the party on the verge of an implosion that will upend the coalition government.

Staff Reporter

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