Thabane mulls walking away

Thabane mulls walking away

MASERU-IS former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane contemplating walking away from his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party and form a new political vehicle to take on his successor?

That is the million-dollar question that Thabane left unanswered after he addressed a political rally in his Ha Abia constituency last Sunday.
Thabane told hundreds of party supporters that he was now so fed up with the ABC that he was now consulting constituencies countrywide on the way forward.
“I have come here to you so that you tell me what to do, whether I should leave (or stay put),” Thabane said.

He complained that the party’s national executive committee which is aligned to deputy party leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, was no longer inviting him to its sittings.
The committee was not even bothering to inform him of its decisions, he said.

If true, the allegations could aptly capture how Thabane had totally lost control of his own party following his ouster from power in May.
Thabane also complained bitterly about the coalition agreement between his ABC party and the Democratic Congress (DC) saying it was not serving the best interests of party members.

Thabane’s loyalists, who have continued to make noises behind the scenes after their leader’s ouster, have made similar complaints in the past.
The loyalists had vowed to mobilise MPs to vote out Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro when Parliament re-opened last week.
That plot however fizzled out after they failed to garner the necessary 61 MPs to collapse the government.

The Thabane faction, which had claimed it had 36 MPs on its side, wanted to cobble a new coalition with the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).
The ABC’s deputy chairman, Chalane Phori, has however rubbished talk that they were planning to form a new political party.

Phori said they will “seek other means to deal with the DC”.
Thabane told the rally that he had worked peacefully with the people of Ha Abia since 1998 when they elected him to represent them in Parliament.
He said he does not even remember when the ABC’s NEC last invited him to one of its meetings.

Under the ABC constitution, the party leader chairs all meetings of the national executive committee.
“I am never told about committee meetings or even about discussions and decisions taken,” Thabane said.

“I do not think they know me well,” he said, amid shouts and cheers from the crowd that answered back: “Indeed they don’t know you.”
Thabane called on all constituencies countrywide to tell him within three weeks if he should leave the ABC.

“Tell me if you want me to stay under the same treatment,” he said.
“I am saying these things from the bottom of my heart because I love the ABC and ABC members.”
Thabane’s son, Potlako, the Abia constituency chairman, said the constituency had already identified certain development projects when Thabane was pushed out of power.
The plans are now at a standstill, he said.

He also lambasted the ABC’s NEC for not inviting his father to its meetings.
Potloako said the party’s secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, who is married to Thabane’s daughter, had at one time visited the leader at his home and reassured him that he would be invited to the meetings but that never happened.

“The NEC must learn to respect Ntate Thabane,” Potlako said.
“We know that they are holding several meetings in which crucial decisions are taken without your consent,” he said, directing the statement to his father.
Potlako also complained of the coalition with the DC.

“Truly speaking, the people who made our party enter into this coalition did a bad thing. We were not even notified of the coalition,” he said.
Potlako said they had therefore decided to ignore the coalition agreement as a constituency.
He said they had a poverty reduction project that they had planned but now they have to share it with the DC.

“The (DC) is saying we should bring five people (to the poverty alleviation scheme) while they bring four,” he said.
“We are not rebellious but the coalition agreement is not in the best interests of our party.”

He accused the DC of stirring trouble in the party.
The ABC spokesman, Montoeli Masoetsa, told thepost in a separate interview that “the people should know that it is not true that Thabane is never called for meetings”.
Masoetsa said they invite Thabane but he never shows up.
“Thabane is not above the committee and if he does not attend, decisions will still be taken in his absence,” Masoetsa said.

“If he wants to know about the decisions taken, he must ask the secretary general,” he said.
“It has now become normal for him to say he wants to leave the party.”
Masoetsa said they will “wait to see what direction the constituency gives him”.
“It is one’s personal decision to leave or stay in the party.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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