Thabane plots Majoro ouster

Thabane plots Majoro ouster

MASERU-FORMER Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s attempt to oust Moeketsi Majoro as premier has suffered a massive blow.
This after the All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s national executive committee voted against his proposal to remove Majoro.

Thabane made the daring move during his brief speech at the committee’s meeting on December 29.
Sources who attended the meeting said Thabane riled against Majoro, complaining that he doesn’t work well with the committee.
A source said Thabane then told the committee to urgently remove the prime minister before abruptly leaving the meeting.

The source said after Thabane left the committee was split on whether to reject or accept his demand.
Several officials who were at the meeting told thepost that the ABC’s secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, aggressively pushed for Majoro’s ouster.

They said Hlaele, who is Thabane’s son-in-law, was adamant that the committee should push out Majoro.
“He was pushing his father-in-law’s agenda. They have made up since June and they are now fighting in the same corner,” said one of the officials who was present throughout what he described as “a stormy and very aggressive meeting”.

“He is now firmly fighting in Thabane’s corner and wants to be the party leader.”
Thabane’s proposal however collapsed after the committee put the matter to a vote. Seven people voted against the prime minister’s removal while six supported the idea. Some five members did not vote because it happened when they were outside the meeting.

thepost however understands that of those five outside the meeting three would have voted for removal and two against. This means that if those five had been in the meeting the vote would have ended in a tie and deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao would have been forced to cast the deciding vote.

That the vote was so close, and could have been tied, is a reflection of the deep divisions in the ABC. It also illustrates that Thabane still casts a shadow over the committee in which he appears to have a substantial following.
An investigation by this paper has revealed that this was not the first time Thabane has openly told the committee to remove Majoro.

His first push happened last August at the executive committee’s meeting. The committee discussed his demand but did not vote.
Thabane also repeated the demand at another committee meeting in mid-December but the members did not take the matter further.
“He has been at it for months now and seems unrelenting. He is working with several committee members,” said a source who attended all the meetings and is privy to the battles in the party.

Majoro’s chances of remaining in office received a boost on Tuesday this week after the ABC’s parliamentary caucus announced that it supports the committee’s decision.
This was after the executive committee had briefed the caucus about Thabane’s demand and the result of its subsequent vote on the issue.
The caucus’s secretary general, Tlokotsi Manyoko, said the MPs support the committee’s decision to stick with Majoro.

Manyoko said this was the unanimous position of the 35 ABC MPs who attended the briefing. The other 15 ABC MPs did not attend the meeting.
He said the caucus members will not support any attempt to pass a vote of no confidence against Majoro in parliament.

“The change of government only happens in parliament and that is all,” Manyoko said.
“We support the NEC’s decision to stop the government’s dethronement,” he said, adding that a change of government would not help the country especially during the Covid-19 crisis.
His sentiments were echoed by Mabote MP Fako Moshoeshoe.
Mokhotlong MP, Tefo Mapesela, said they stand with Majoro.

“We are saying no to that (attempt to remove the prime minister). All we want is service delivery,” Mapesela said.
Mapesela said some members of the executive committee should remember that Majoro’s fate is in the hands of parliament.
With support from the caucus Majoro appears to have dodged the bullet for now.

He had been largely seen as a sitting duck, with Thabane still wielding influence behind the scenes. He might just see his term out if he hangs on to the 35 members who are said to support him and keeps his coalition partners happy.
But with allegiances in Lesotho’s politics notoriously fickle, his government is still in a precarious position.

What is however clear is that Thabane will continue to meddle, in a sign that he is still bitter about his ousting mid-last year.

Nkheli Liphoto

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