We’re sorry,  says Thabane

We’re sorry, says Thabane

MASERU – PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane (Pictured) rarely shirks from a challenge. He might wince for a moment but he will strike back.
But a different side to Thabane was on display on Sunday.  He had arrived home to find his supporters tearing into the party, his wife and himself on radio and social media. Probably the first newspapers he read on landing from Sudan were announcing the turmoil in his party.
“Chaos hits ABC,” said thepost.

“Maliehe attacks First Lady,” said the Lesotho Times.  Facebook was teeming with insults, most of which were aimed at his wife. Some plonked pictures of 4 x 4 vehicles stuck in mud to depict how the government is mired in a crisis. As if on cue his party chairman Tourism Minister Motlohi Maliehe had launched a scathing attack on the prime minister and his wife. He said Thabane should control his wife whom he accused of meddling in government and party affairs.

Coming from a senior member of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Maliehe’s attack was unprecedented. Maliehe and other party zealots were doing precisely what Thabane had warned them against a few months ago. Back then he gleefully threatened to deal with those who spoke ill of his family and wife.

The target of that stern warning was ministers, some of whom were already starting to mumble in protest about the First Lady’s hand in government.
So by the time Thabane took the microphone at a rally in ’Maliepetsane constituency some, including Maliehe, must have been quacking in their boots.

But instead of going on the offensive and putting the protesters in ‘their place’ Thabane cajoled. He was mellow when many were expecting him to spit fire, seemingly weighing his words. “I am sorry,” he said. It was like he was reading a line from Richelle E Goodrich, a famous motivational speaker and writer.  “Never believe you’re so great or important, so right or proud, that you cannot kneel at the feet of someone you hurt and offer a humble, sincere apology,” Goodrich says.

Figuratively speaking, Thabane knelt before the masses. Whether this was a sincere apology or a strategic retreat before a thundering strike, only time will tell. “I want to take this chance to apologise for not handling some issues correctly,” Thabane said. He promised that the party’s national executive committee, through Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele, “is set to address all the concerns that the members have raised in recent weeks”.

“The ABC does not belong to an individual but to every Mosotho who is interested (in the party).”  “Thupa shapa fatše moo re hataneng litorong (“Let the stick not strike on us but on the ground for we have wronged each other’)”.  “We are aware that members are not happy with the running of the party and the government,” he said. The coaxing done, Thabane pointed his supporters to what he said was the real cause of the problem: the previous government. He said Pakalitha Mosisili’s administration looted public funds and killed people.

“These challenges caught us early on the rough journey from brutal killings, stealing and hatred in the country,” Thabane said.
He also said he saw on several times that nothing can stand against the angry public who are tired of rulers who do not listen.
“We are witnesses of strong public who stood with their protests and campaigns to stop the past regime where rulers and their gunmen turned into life owners.”

“In the past regime ordinary people were scared of the word politics.” Thabane also said his government will introspect to see where it “lost it”.
He appealed to party supporters to stop complaining over radio stations lest that confuses their government.
“A verbal fight on radios is a sign that we have lost the map,” he said, adding that their chosen leaders of the four parties in government can work together to solve any problems.

Thabane also said the conflicts might put the government in danger as opponents might be emboldened to divide the coalition.
He appealed to the ABC leadership to solve problems before they become a burden to the other three coalition partners.

Nkheli Liphoto

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