ABC splits

ABC splits

MASERU-THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) has finally collapsed and might take the government down with it.
Deputy Leader Professor Nqosa Mahao is working with ABC functionaries, MPs and supporters to form a new party that he says might be registered by the end of next week.

He confirmed that the constitution is being drafted and he is one of the driving forces behind the break-away party.
The initial plan was to call it New Dawn but that has since changed because there is already a church by that name.
Prof Mahao said the decision to form the party is a culmination of what he described as a “chaotic situation” in the ABC.

He said relations in the party have been sour since last December when party leader and former prime minister Thomas Thabane ordered the executive committee to remove Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro.
“Since then we have been operating as factions,” Prof Mahao told thepost last night.
He said what broke the camel’s back was the discovery that Majoro had now joined Thabane’s camp and was part of the plot to expel him from the party.

“That came as a shock to me because this is the prime minister we have been protecting from Thabane who has been trying to instigate the party to remove him,” Prof Mahao said.
“You go and buy peace with the people who wanted to slaughter you and then you connive with them to slaughter the very people who were protecting you.”
“That just revealed that there is no honour among politicians. The betrayal is shocking.”

He said they were aware of initial meetings between Thabane and Majoro but they were not suspicious because “it is not unusual for a prime minister to meet his predecessor”.
He said they only discovered last month that there was something sinister about the meetings. Prof Mahao said by joining Thabane’s camp, Majoro is bringing back the same problem they fought against.

“It’s an attempt to resuscitate the old problem of having the party and the government being led by the former First Lady. This is the same issue that was the root of our fights for years.”
He said he is not afraid to lose his job as a minister.
“Whether I am fired or not depends on the support he has. But I am not afraid to lose my job.”
He also said he wasn’t sure if the government will survive the split because “the horse-trading has already started”.

Now that there is the ABC and the new party there are already suitors, he said.
“There is going to be a shifting of chairs. Everyone is potentially going to be affected by what happens in the next few weeks.”

Yesterday, Majoro put on a brave face when he met supporters who thronged the State House in a show of support after news of the new party started filtering in.
He told the crowd that he had earlier visited Thabane at his Makhoakhoeng home and that the party had cleaned itself “like an ocean’s currents driving unwanted debris out”.
He said the crowd filled him with the hope that the party will survive the storm.

“I know that yesterday you were all confused and surprised but it was nothing new in our party,” Majoro said, adding that some MPs are now tired of the endless factional wars in the party.
He pleaded with all the members to be united ahead of the 2022 elections.
“They used to say they are counting days before I leave the office, but 2022 is where we are going, nothing will change,” he said.

He described what is happening as “the will of God who does not need wars and fights”.
“Now I believe we have a chance to be united.”
Speaking on behalf of the supporters, Tšepang Phangoa, a member of the Stadium Area constituency, said they were there to support Majoro.
“Now they have been releasing a series of voice notes which we found inappropriate,” Phangoa said, without mentioning names.

He was probably referring to MP Tefo Mapesela who sent out several audio and video clips after he was fired as Agriculture Minister last week.
“If you have to fire one cabinet member do not hesitate to do so when valid reasons are there,” Phangoa said.
“We will not be stopped or discouraged by the voice clip makers who always find pride and comfort in attacking our leaders.”
The collapse of the ABC has shifted the power to the Democratic Congress (DC) which is now the obvious kingmaker.

None of the ABC factions has enough numbers in parliament to lead the next government. This leaves the DC leader Mathibile Mokhothu, which will have the majority of seats, with the leverage to choose the coalition partners he wants.
Given Majoro’s limited numbers, with 23 MPs at most, it would take some special kind of benevolence for Mokhothu to allow him to remain prime minister until the next election in September next year.

Staff Reporter

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