ABC, BNP ganged
the Prime Minister’s Office but was fired in February this year for alleged incompetence.
the seasoned politician bares his soul on his departure from the aBC, and alleged fallout with former close friend Dr thabane in this wide-ranging interview with Lesotho Times (Lt) reporter Lekhetho Ntsukunyane. LT: Your resignation from the ABC to re-join the LCD has not come as a surprise to many, considering the unceremonious way you lost your cabinet post early this year. So could you please tell us what led to your fall from grace, if we may use that phrase. Soulo: Perhaps I should first tell you why I joined the aBC from the LCD when the party was founded in 2006. this could help you realise why I have now decided to come back home to the LCD.
the answer is quite simple; I join a party, or any other organisation, because of its principles. When I join a political party, it is because I believe in its principles and the way it is conducting itself based on its constitution.
the constitution and manifesto are two significant documents which I always consider as pillars of any organisation I align myself to. When I join any party, because I have the right to do so, I read these documents carefully because they are what describe that party better than anything else.
If they describe the party, they describe me as a person affiliated to it, unless the party does something else apart from what these documents are saying.
It’s the same thing as I get into government; I check the national constitution, and in church I rely on the bible.
Basically, what I am saying is that I can join any party for as long as I believe in its principles arising from its constitution and manifesto. LT: Are you basically saying you left the LCD because the party was not living up to its principles? Soulo: Partly that. But to be precise, I left the LCD for the aBC because there were issues which, as we tried to resolve them in accordance with the party’s constitution, we ended up in some unnecessary fights, and this led to divisions within the party.
But on top of that, I was tired of this issue of labeling people congresses and nationals, which also deeply divided Basotho as a nation. this trend had started way back with Dr Leabua Jonathan (former BnP leader and prime minister) and Dr ntsu Mokhehle (LCD founder and former premier). I thought it was time we let go of it and start new ways of living harmoniously as Basotho.
I thought party politics should never ever divide us that deep in this day and age. and I want to assure you that was the main reason why the aBC was formed — to unite all Basotho and forget about whether one is a congress or a national. We formed the aBC in order that when we die, at least we would leave a good legacy that we brought Basotho together through the party. LT: So what are your problems with the ABC now? Why are you leaving the party of your dreams? Soulo: the aBC was doing pretty well until we got into power by forming a coalition government with the LCD and BnP after the 26 May 2012 election had failed to produce an outright majority winner. Before this coalition government was formed, it had been very difficult for parties to enter into such partnerships.
It was even more difficult for the ABC to partner with any of these old parties because of its fresh approach to issues. But because LCD members knew me well from back then when I was still in the party, they eventually approached the aBC leadership for the partnership. It was because they knew me and my tough stance on issues where necessary.
I had actually recruited and groomed most of the LCD members. the three parties namely the aBC, LCD and BnP then formed the coalition government. an agreement was then signed to work together consultatively.
and I want to emphasise that it is written in black and white in the agreement that the three leaders should decide on issues of governance in consultation with each other. the agreement was documented and we considered it as a law binding the three parties to work together in harmony.
We even went further to say that we should establish a policy of the three coalition parties working together as government.
the three parties have their own policies, hence why now they had to formulate a government policy together. We did that policy.
I was part of the team formulating that policy. But as time passed, it turned out the three leaders were no longer working together as per the agreement and the policy.
It seemed the other two — aBC and BnP – were conniving and sidelining the LCD from decisions they were making.
this became obvious as they approached the cabinet. they would come to the cabinet with decisions, only to find that the other one is surprised as he was not informed about them at all. Personally, I tried working out this issue.
I approached the three leaders and at some point, it appeared as if I was winning. You will agree with me that the fallout between the three leaders reached crisis level after I was kicked out of cabinet in February this year as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. It was because I was no longer available to mediate. LT: Which brings us to one of the questions we wanted to ask. Why were you fired from government? Soulo: I don’t know. But there were already indications that we were no longer on good terms with the prime minister. It was easy for me to realise it because we were almost in the same office. Some people who knew what was going on started telling me that he was soon going to kick me out.
But I couldn’t believe it then. not until one evening when a government vehicle stopped at my gate to deliver the letter of dismissal.
However, I accepted that decision and made peace with myself about it. I quickly consoled myself that maybe it was God’s will that I should leave government at that moment because He was saving me from something big coming my way. I remained an ordinary MP of the aBC, as I was there in parliament because of the party. LT: What were the other indications that you were no longer seeing eye to eye with Dr Thabane? Soulo: In February this year, shortly before I was dismissed as minister, the aBC went for a very controversial elective conference here in Maseru. as party chairman at the time, I had even suggested that the event be postponed because there were grave issues of concern prior to the scheduled date.
It was not the ideal time for the conference because of the thaba-Moea and thaba-Phechela by-elections which were also scheduled for February.
they developed issues about principal secretaries, saying that I didn’t want this one, I wanted to work with the other one and all sorts of unfounded accusations to bring my name into disrepute.
We went to that elective conference with all these negative issues hanging over me with one purpose — that they would be reason enough for members not to vote for me into the neC.
they went all out to allege that I had big guns from the army kept in a large bag in my house because I intended to overthrow Ntate thabane.
they made all sorts of allegations that I went out of the country with the army commander, Ntate tlali Kamoli, and that on our way we planned to topple the government. Which government?
the one that I was working for? How ridiculous! and some people believed all of these lies.
But if all or part of these allegations were true, I should be in prison now because these are serious criminal offences. But I have never even been summoned to a police station for interrogation regarding these accusations to this day. LT: Are you saying you could have won the elections had it not been because of the smear campaign you are talking about? Soulo: Definitely. I could have retained my position had it not been for the smear campaign, which was a mission well planned by the leader to boot me out of the neC. they went further to play cheap politics in that conference whereby they intentionally confused my name with Souru instead of Soulo.
They also intentionally confused my first name as Molibeli instead of Molobeli. You see, all this was being done because I was now being hated with passion by some dangerous people in the party. But because most of the party members still liked me and appreciated my being in the neC, they voted for me in large numbers anyway.
But I was not going to be named in the committee because the leader had already decided not to put me in the executive anymore.
now the last one, and the worst of all, was when one morning, I read in the Lesotho Times that myself, Ntate (Mothetjoa) Metsing (LCD leader and Deputy Prime Minister), ntate (Selibe) Mochoboroane, Ntate (Mpho) Malie, the army commander (tlali Kamoli), police deputy commissioner (Keketso) Monaheng and others, would soon be charged with high treason. How would these people charge us with this kind of crime? On what basis?
now automatically people thought I was already a member of the congress movement because this issue was being associated with the congress. now all this made me realise that I should go back to my roots, the LCD. I realised that I was rapidly being pushed into muddy waters and dirt.
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FORMER ABC stalwart Molobeli Soulo