BNP to hold ind­aba as poll looms

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

THE Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) will hold a two-day con­fer­ence this week­end to pre­pare for next year’s snap elec­tion sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary.

Party Spokesper­son, Mach­esetsa Mo­fo­mobe, told the Le­sotho Times the con­fer­ence is set to take place in Maseru from 8-9 Novem­ber at a venue yet to be de­cided by the lead­er­ship.

“The con­fer­ence is for mem­bers to as­sess how the party has grown since it en­tered into a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) in June 2012,” Mr Mo­fo­mobe said.

How­ever, Mr Mo­fo­mobe em­pha­sised the main agenda would be prepa­ra­tions for the poll, which had to be brought for­ward by two years fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment due to dif­fer­ences be­tween ABC leader and Prime Min­is­ter, Thomas Tha­bane, and his LCD coun­ter­part, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing.

The two lead­ers had a bit­ter fall­out in June this year after Mr Mets­ing pub­licly ac­cused Dr Tha­bane of not con­sult­ing him and BNP leader, Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, when mak­ing key de­ci­sions with a bear­ing on good gov­er­nance in vi­o­la­tion of the con­sul­ta­tive spirit of their Coali­tion Agree­ment.

After the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) was in­vited to me­di­ate in the fall­out, po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers signed the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion on 2 Oc­to­ber 2014.

Un­der the Dec­la­ra­tion, par­lia­ment, which Dr Tha­bane had sus­pended for nine months on 10 June 2014 to avoid a no-con­fi­dence vote, was to open on 17 Oc­to­ber, for poll­re­lated business, and dis­band early De­cem­ber with a gen­eral elec­tion held to­wards the end of Fe­bru­ary 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Mo­fo­mobe, the BNP was de­ter­mined to do well in the up­com­ing elec­tion, hence the need for thor­ough prepa­ra­tions and mo­bil­i­sa­tion of the elec­torate.

“We need to plan and dis­cuss new pol­icy di­rec­tions to take ahead of the elec­tion, con­sult at grass­roots level and agree on the best way to se­lect our can­di­dates for the poll,” Mr Mo­fo­mobe said. We al­ways go through a rig­or­ous se­lec­tion cri­te­ria which starts with pri­maries at sub­branch level, but due to the limited time we have be­fore the elec­tion, we have to speed-up the process.”

Mr Mo­fo­mobe also said the con­fer­ence would re­view the BNP’S role in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment and its po­si­tion in fu­ture re­gard­ing such an al­liance.

“We need to have feed­back from our mem­bers re­gard­ing the coali­tion gov­ern­ment and how it could be sta­bilised in fu­ture through le­gal re­forms,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Mo­fo­mobe, the BNP and ABC lead­er­ship are still work­ing in har­mony in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment, while the LCD had de­cided to dump the part­ner­ship the three par­ties signed amid great ex­pec­ta­tions of a new era in Le­sotho pol­i­tics.

Asked if the work­ing re­la­tion­ship would not re­sult in the ABC over­shad­ow­ing the BNP ahead of the poll, Mr Mo­fo­mobe said:

“The BNP has grown sig­nif­i­cantly since it be­came part of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment in 2012 and con­tin­ues to re­cruit new mem­bers. Be­cause of this, we be­lieve the party is go­ing to be a force to reckon with come Fe­bru­ary 2015.

“How­ever, it is clear our poli­cies are almost sim­i­lar to those of the ABC, es­pe­cially when it comes to re­spect­ing the na­tional con­sti­tu­tion and fight­ing cor­rup­tion. For in­stance, we have rea­sons to be­lieve by abandoning the coali­tion gov­ern­ment, the LCD lead­er­ship is con­don­ing cor­rup­tion and very much against good gov­er­nance.”

How­ever, Mr Mo­fo­mobe in­sisted de­spite the cor­dial re­la­tion­ship with the ABC, the BNP would be con­test­ing next year’s poll in­de­pen­dently.

“We are only open to an al­liance after the an­nounce­ment of the elec­tion re­sults, for as long as that party re­spects the rule of law, up­holds good gov­er­nance and is com­mit­ted to fight­ing cor­rup­tion.”

Asked to com­ment on Mr Mo­fo­mobe’s al­le­ga­tions that the LCD ditched the coali­tion gov­ern­ment due to its re­luc­tance to fight cor­rup­tion, party Deputy Spokesper­son, Se­libe Mo­choboroane said the state­ment was mere pol­i­tick­ing.

“So many cor­rupt peo­ple are claim­ing that the LCD lead­er­ship is im­moral just to cover up their own cor­rup­tion,” said Mr Mo­choboroane.

“For in­stance, the Min­istry of Gen­der, Youth, Sports and Recre­ation led by BNP leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, hired gates for horserac­ing games held in Mafeteng as part of cel­e­bra­tions mark­ing the King’s Birth­day (in July this year).

“But what’s sur­pris­ing is that a con­tract worth more than M100 000 was awarded to Mach­esetsa with­out go­ing through a ten­der process.”

“What’s shock­ing is that it cost the company de­liv­er­ing the gates from Gaut­eng Prov­ince in South Africa to Ma­put­soe M50 000, and the BNP spokesper­son charged gov­ern­ment twice that amount for the gates to be taken to Mafeteng. Isn’t that cor­rup­tion by the same peo­ple who por­tray them­selves as Saints?” Mr Mo­choboroane queried.

“BNP mem­bers are in­volved in so many cor­rupt deals but con­tinue to get away with it be­cause they di­vert at­ten­tion from them­selves by point­ing fin­gers at oth­ers.

“We still have another case re­lat­ing to funds is­sued by the Fi­nance Min­istry for the Cosafa un­der-20 foot­ball tour­na­ment (held in Le­sotho in De­cem­ber 2013), which were never ac­counted for by Mo­fo­mobe’s leader, ‘Maserib­ane. But what is even more shock­ing is that th­ese cases are not be­ing in­ves­ti­gated at all.”

FILE Pic: BNP sup­port­ers will hold an in­tro­spec­tive con­fer­ence ahead of the Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tion.

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