ABC kicked out of offices

ABC kicked out of offices

MASERU-The bitter factional battles within the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) have taken a huge toll on the party’s finances.  The party was kicked out of its rented offices at the Metcash Building in Maseru for allegedly failing to pay rent for the past three months.

Newly elected secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, told a press conference on Friday that the internal squabbles that erupted after the party’s elective conference in February had hit the party’s pockets.
“We will be looking for new offices in the meantime,” Hlaele said.

The decision to kick out the ABC from the building comes two weeks after there was a near gun-fight at Metcash as the two warring sides squared off in a battle to seize control of the party offices.

After the stand-off, thepost understands that other tenants at the building were not amused by the violence which they felt threatened their safety. They said they no longer felt safe to share the building with the ABC.

Hlaele insisted that Thabane’s decision to expel him and three others was null and void since the party’s Constitution did not give him the powers to do so.

Others who were expelled are deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa and his deputy ’Matebatso Doti.

Hlaele said before Thabane expelled them, he should have ordered the secretary general to call a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee so that it could bless such a decision.
But that was not done, he said.

“In his letters he says “I” and that is not allowed in our constitution,” Hlaele said.
He said the “dismissal” should have been a collective decision by the party. He said Thabane had expelled them without providing cogent reasons after he charged them with organizing parallel rallies across Lesotho.

Hlaele said it is only the national executive committee that is empowered to organize rallies and not the party leader.
Asked if other members of the committee, deputy secretary general Nkaku Kabi and deputy chairman Chalane Phori, knew about the meeting that resolved to suspend Thabane, Hlaele said they were invited but failed to attend.
Hlaele said he informed Kabi and Phori about the meeting that was held to finalise the leadership’s fate.
“The (two) members received an invitation but did not come,” he added.

He said there are 10 members of the elected committee.
“The constituencies also delegate their representatives but they do not have voting powers because they are ex-officio members of the committee,” he said.

Hlaele said the ABC does not belong to its leader but to the masses who joined it.
He said the committee was likely to call Thabane for a disciplinary hearing any time.

Hlaele said they want to ask Thabane to explain what he meant when he labelled Professor Mahao a sekatana, (a rag) at his rallies. “He will tell us what sekatana is,” Hlaele said.

He said they set up a disciplinary committee to give their leader a chance to speak for himself.
“We know he will not agree with the decision (to bring him before the disciplinary committee) but we are doing it,” he said.

“He will have to go to the courts if he does not agree.’’
Hlaele also announced that the committee had suspended Kabi pending a disciplinary hearing for writing letters without the mandate from the committee, and without the knowledge of the secretary general.
“Therefore Kabi is also suspended pending a disciplinary hearing,” Hlaele said.
He said their special conference will proceed as scheduled this Saturday.

“We are a legitimate committee until the court says otherwise,” he added.
Hlaele said the conference is meant to discuss the problems rocking the party which have been caused by the leader.
“The conference will start in the morning and end in the evening.”

He said members will get a chance to accept or reject the committee’s decision to expel Thabane.
Speaking at the same occasion, Professor Mahao said their constitution does not allow the leader to expel members.

He said the party leader can only suspend not expel members.
He also said the leader expelled them wrongly especially after the courts made a ruling that the committee was elected correctly.

“His act is not there in the perimeters of the law that is why we are still the (legitimate) executive committee of the ABC,” he added.

Kabi said the landlord never disclosed to him that the party was owing rent for three months.
He said all he knew was that the landlord had decided to move them to a standalone office following the incidents that happened there last month.

Kabi said they understood the landlord’s standpoint as he was concerned over the safety of other tenants at the building. He said the Mahao group went to court to challenge their dismissal from the party because they realized they had been legitimately kicked out.

He added that the fired members cannot now fire other members until the courts have ruled on their dismissal.
Kabi denied that he was being “used” by the Thabane faction as he was acting on the basis of the mandate he got from the national executive committee.

Nkheli Liphoto

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