The ABC’s  battle of numbers

The ABC’s battle of numbers

MASERU – WHOSE is bigger, mine or yours? This seems to be the question that factions in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party are trying to settle and crowds matter.
Factionalism is coming to a head in the ABC, where a battle for numbers is in full swing.
Two rallies held on Sunday – one in Likhoele, Mafeteng and another in Ha-Foso in Berea – underlined the deepening chasm as the factions battle to outwit each other.

The party, formed 15 years ago, was holding two competing rallies on the same day, with the two factions seemingly keen to use attendance numbers to prove their strength.
A faction believed to be aligned to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane pulled all stops to ensure that the party leader had enough numbers at his Likhoele rally to bolster his clout as the party’s ultimate Godfather.
A rival faction was holding a rally on the same day in Ha-Foso, where Berea constituency MP Motlatsi Maqelepo was the guest speaker.

Maqelepo is seen as a front for the embattled newly elected national executive committee and the faction led by Nqosa Mahao.
Mahao has been in Thabane’s crosshairs and was recently called “a rag that is blown away by the wind” by the Prime Minister.

The two factions announced their rallies a week before Sunday. Mahao’s faction said the Ha-Foso rally was just a constituency gathering meant to address local problems. But that was enough to give Thabane’s faction goose bumps that his went all the way to ensure that the Prime Minister’s Likhoele rally turned out bigger.
Thabane’s backers could not afford the embarrassment of a national leader drawing a smaller crowd than Mahao’s faction.

So, buses were hired and free food was provided for people attending Thabane’s rally in Likhoele.
Thabane’s faction (termed State House Team) went to the Maseru factories where workers were promised free meals and transport to Likhoele.
ABC Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele speaking on one local radio station last weekend said the party had sourced funds to make Thabane’s rally a success.
Free transport to Likhoele was part of that plan, he said. Close to 40 buses from as far as Butha-Buthe ferried people to Likhoele, where the rally turned out to be hugely successful.
Ntsekele said the Mafeteng constituencies would be given priority over other constituencies.
At the Prime Minister’s rally, mouth-watering promises were made to the factory workers who had gathered in their numbers to hear Thabane speak.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Mokhotlong constituency Tefo Mapesela, who is also the Minister of Defence, said the factory workers should not panic over the 0% salary adjustment for civil servants. Mapesela said the salaries were determined by the Wages Advisory Board.
He told the factory workers that they deserved to earn as much as M3 000 each per month.
In Ha-Foso, the rally was also well attended, although in ABC tradition no party member should organise a rally that clashes with a gathering addressed by the party leader.

Apart from this tradition, the newly elected national executive committee and the outgoing one have been ordered by the High Court not to execute any major decisions pending finalisation of the legal battle over the control of the party.
The old committee was ordered to control party administrative issues only while the court determines whether the new committee was properly elected.
But that has not stopped the factions from sizing each other up, as the battle for control intensifies.
Before last week’s competing rallies, a similar situation happened two weeks ago when the party held two gatherings, one in Lithabaneng and another in Qeme.

The Qeme rally was the first to be announced but shortly after that some senior party officials said a separate rally was being planned for Lithabaneng. Many viewed this as part of the internal struggle for power.
Word spread in Maseru that Thabane, as party leader, would attend the Qeme rally.
It was also expected that senior party officials opposed to the newly elected national executive committee would attend the Qeme rally.

However when Thabane did not attend, party supporters in Qeme asked their MP Nkaku Kabi why the Prime Minister was absent. In the words of one supporter: “We hoped that he would be here so that we ask him questions about the promises he has failed to fulfill”.
The Qeme rally had less than 100 people in attendance.
Many ABC supporters were seen passing by the Qeme ground where Kabi was to hold the rally going to Lithabaneng where supporters of the new executive committee were waiting.
Kabi waited for an hour from the advertised kick off time hoping the crowd would swell before addressing the rally as people trickled in.

When thepost arrived, the VIP was already set up but for nearly three hours the only people at the rally venue were a reporter from thepost and two women from the constituency.
When the rally finally began, the VIP seats quickly filled but the messages beamed via a powerful public address system were broadcast to a largely empty football ground.

Majara Molupe

Previous Thabane’s daughter fumes over postponement
Next Teachers denounce ‘draconian’ Bill

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thepostc/public_html/wp-content/themes/trendyblog-theme/includes/single/post-tags-categories.php on line 7

About author

You might also like


Minister grilled

…..Employment of ‘Chinese’ at abattoir angers MPs……….. MASERU – THE Minister of Small Business Chalane Phori was grilled in Parliament last Thursday over the employment of Chinese nationals at the national


‘There was no request to arrest PS’

MASERU – THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane this week denied that the police had asked her for permission to arrest the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of


Understanding the post-2015 political crisis

This chapter addresses some of the underlying causal factors for Lesotho’s perennial political instability focusing primarily on the current post-2015 political crisis. The inconclusive 2015 election led to the establishment