Thabane blasts party ‘rebels’

Thabane blasts party ‘rebels’

MASERU – ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane says party officials publicly campaigning against him will now be regarded as having joined opposition ranks, as the Prime Minister battles a raging internal struggle for control of the ruling party.
Thabane told a packed rally in Taung Mohale’s Hoek on Sunday that members of a rival faction had ignored his pleas for them to stop holding anti-government rallies unsanctioned by the party leadership.

This, he said, proved they were no longer loyal to the ABC, effectively turning them into members of the opposition.
As he addressed the sold out rally where his supporters came out in large numbers, a rival ABC faction linked to deputy party leader Professor Nqosa Mahao was holding a parallel rally in Lithabaneng, Maseru.

“Why are these rallies used to launch an offensive attack against the government and helping the opposition to make forays against the government?” Thabane quipped.
He described the utterances made at pro-Mahao rallies as war-like and inconsistent with party dictates of loyalty and discipline.
“My heart is bleeding,” he said to supporters who cheered and looked buoyant at the Paul VI High School football ground.

Internal party problems, he said, should not be a basis for ABC officials and supporters to violate the party constitution and taint the image of the government.
Thabane said the problems in his party came to the fore following the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) elections held in February this year.
Professor Mahao was elected party deputy leader at the conference, to the dismay of Thabane who had unsuccessfully tried to stop his candidacy.
As the elected deputy, Mahao became the leading succession contender, although Thabane has expressed his intention to continue at the helm of the party and government in the foreseeable future.

The party differences ended up playing out in the courts, a move that is against party policy, which dictates that internal structures should be utilised to solve any differences in the ABC, said Thabane.
Nonetheless, the party adhered to the court orders because the ABC is a law-abiding party, said Thabane.
Thabane said he is also going to respect a recent court ruling that asked the party to amend its Constitution.

Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase has ruled that the ABC Constitution does not allow the party to hold the elective conference that elected Mahao and some members of his faction into the party’ executive.
She ordered the outgoing committee to stay in office for 12 months to be able to amend the party Constitution.

Involving the courts in party business could result in the party collapsing, warned Thabane.
“If this party collapses I will laugh at you because I have a pension,” said the 79-year-old.
“It is not the courts of law that can bring a solution to our political differences. Please stop dragging your issues to the courts,” Thabane said.
He also took time to talk about problems facing people in the constituency, key among them sporadic droughts that make farming difficult.

The Prime Minister made a string of promises to fix the problems.
Thabane said he was well informed about the challenges in the constituency, including the lack of roads and washed-away bridges that are making movement of people and goods difficult.
This, he said, had also contributed to the absence of reliable public transport in the area.
He pledged to task the Minister of Local Government Lits’oane Lits’oane to swiftly deal with road infrastructure in the area.

On the issue of water scarcity, which is also a primary concern in the constituency nestled between Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek towns, Thabane gave Minister of Water Samonyane Ntsekele two weeks to ensure reliable water supplies in the area.
Thabane said he was informed that about 500 people in the village of Ha Pii in the Taung constituency were relying on a single borehole because nine others were no longer functional.
Thabane also ordered the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Mahala Molapo to buy crop harvesting machines after he heard that locals were struggling to harvest their wheat.

Majara Molupe


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