Coalition partners push for ABC unity

Coalition partners push for ABC unity

MASERU – REPRESENTATIVES of two coalition government partners last week met with a faction of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party aligned to Professor Nqosa Mahao as they sought to mediate in a vicious power struggle rocking the party.

The push for fresh mediation comes at a time when the opposition is plotting a motion of no-confidence in Parliament against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
Chief Thesele ’Maseribane, who leads the Basotho National Party (BNP), attended the talks with the other representative coming from the Alliance of Democrats (AD). The identity of the AD representative was not disclosed.

The Reformed Congress of Lesotho, which is the smallest party in the four-party led coalition government, was not represented at the talks.
The BNP and AD are junior partners in the coalition government led by Thabane. The two parties have since February this year been watching on the sidelines as the ABC teetered on the brink of collapse.

Now they have jumped into the fray to save their coalition partner and effectively save the government.
The AD’s spokesman, Thuso Litjobo, confirmed to thepost yesterday that they sent a delegation to the two ABC factions asking them to build peace in their party.
Litjobo declined to disclose what was discussed at the meeting with the Mahao group.
He said it was too early to share the information with the media.

Mahao however told a rally organised by his faction in Hlotse last Sunday that they made it clear to the delegation that their patience was now wearing thin.
He said they told the delegation that they will force a collapse of the government if Thabane failed to resolve their differences.
“We told the BNP leader and the representative of AD in our meeting that we have run out of patience,” Mahao said.
“We warned them that if the leader does not address our grievances we will kick (this government) out.”

Mahao said they also told the representatives to warn Thabane to “tread carefully because the government is collapsing under his watch”.
He said they told the two parties to advise Thabane to step up his game and resolve the internal ABC problems if he wants to remain in power.
Thabane remains defiant despite mounting pressure from Mahao’s faction, making a fight to the death almost inevitable.

The ABC is on the brink of a major split after a pro-Thabane faction lost national executive committee elections in February but refused to hand over power to the in-coming executive. The in-coming executive is dominated by members of Mahao’s camp.

The differences have been playing out in the public in recent months, with Thabane and Mahao’s factions trashing each other at separate rallies held around the country.
Secretary General for the defeated committee and a Thabane ally, Water Affairs Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, used official letters and radio interviews to warn Mahao’s victorious faction against exercising power.

Thabane also says Mahao’s faction should not hold rallies without his permission, warning that he would treat them as opposition members if they continue with the public events.
Mahao’s faction has defied the order.

Further, it is resisting an instruction by Ntsekele for the party to go for a conference to elect a new leadership next Friday.
Instead, Mahao has upped the ante by threatening to go for Thabane’s State power.

The faction has been buoyed by a Court of Appeal ruling that a case to determine the control of the party should be heard afresh in the High Court.
This effectively quashed a prior ruling by Acting Chief Justice ’Maseforo Mahase that the pro-Thabane faction should continue running party affairs for a year despite losing the elections.
At the rally, Mahao said his faction’s representatives told the AD and BNP representatives during the meeting that they were giving Thabane “the last chance” to sort out the mess in the party.
Professor Mahao told his followers that he warned that Thabane is following in the footsteps of his “arrogant” predecessor Pakalitha Mosisili “who did not listen to the masses” leading to the fall of his government.

Mahao’s faction is also ramping up the pressure through Parliament where they want to push for a motion of no confidence against Thabane.
Thabane might not have enough backing to block the motion in Parliament, said Mahao at the rally.

Before Parliament adjourned, the ABC MP from Mosalemane and one of Mahao’s top allies Sam Rapapa, was pushing for the amendment of some clauses of Parliament’s Standing Orders that regulate no confidence proceedings against the Prime Minister.
Rapapa, wants the Standing Orders to provide for a secret ballot in the House when MPs are voting on a no confidence motion.
He also wants sections of the constitution that give the Prime Minister an option to advise the King to dissolve parliament when faced with a no confidence motion repealed.

Nkheli Liphoto

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