ABC-BNP alliance behind govt’s collapse - Metsing
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, has accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and Sports Minister Thesele ‘ Maseribane of wreaking havoc in the coalition government and violating various peace accords, particularly the Electoral Pledge (EP).
Addressing hundreds of party supporters at a star rally at Lepereng grounds in Maseru, where he also launched the LCD’S manifesto, Mr Metsing accused All Basotho Convention ( ABC) leader, Dr Thabane, and Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Chief ‘Maseribane, of “acting like opposition party leaders who fought against their own government and breached the Electoral Pledge.”
Signed on 11 December, 2014 by political parties following the dissolution of parliament in line with the Maseru Facilitation Declaration (MFD), the EP commits the parties to ensure a conducive environment for the general elections scheduled for 28 February 2015.
The MFD was brokered by Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator, South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and signed on 2 October 2014.
Mr Metsing said the ABC and the BNP were “hell-bent” on causing chaos during the course of the coalition government, leading to its collapse.
The ABC, LCD and BNP formed a coalition government after the 26 May 2012 election had failed to produce an outright majority winner, but the alliance has since collapsed with Mr Metsing accusing Dr Thabane of dictatorial tendencies.
At the rally, Mr Metsing also said his estranged partners in government “had always been disloyal to the government” and acted like opposition leaders ers who disregarded agreements with impunity.
He said Dr Thabanehabane and Chief ‘Maseribane had ad continued to flout SADC brokeredkered agreements meant to bring Lesotho to political and security stabilityability by ganging up against the LCD.
As a result, Mr Metsing said, the LCDCD had found solace among other congress parties led by the main opposisition Democraticatic Congress.
Mr Metsing ng said Dr Thabanene had violated the Electoral Pledgege by hiring principal secretaries.
He said if elected, the LCD would not protect any high ranking government official who was hired in contravention of the agreements signed ahead of the elections.
“We have agreements signed that we would not be hiring anyone or demoting or removing from office any officials, but we are shocked to learn that our partners are just continuing to contravene the pledge we made,” said Mr Metsing.
“We specifically agreed that they would not be hiring princi- pal secretaries but they are going ahead anyway. Agreements should be abided by.
“We will not stop the new government from firing officials who ascended to office in breach of the Electoral Pledge. We are supposed to be protecting and supporting agreements signed.”
Mr Metsing added that after the elections, the LCD would definitely form a government with the first order of business being the dismissal “of those pr principal secretaries hired in viola violation of the agreements.”
He also accused Dr T Thabane and Chief ‘Maseribane of v violating the electoral pledge by issu issuing mining licences.
“We have also learne learned there are mining licences that a are being issued at this time when we are just but a caretaker gover government,” he said. “We won’t regard as binding any agreements entered into during this period since t they are illconceived. We will nullify such agreements.”agreeme He said when the LCD ass assumes power after theth polls, the party w would examine all the agreements entered into by government after the dissolu dissolution of parlia parliament and assess their merits. The deputy premier also condemned the issuance of food parcels by the Special Projects department in Dr Thabane’s office, adding that it was akin to vote buying.
The department, headed by the premier’s wife, Liabiloe ‘Maisaiah Thabane, was recently ordered by the Independent Electoral Commission to stop distributing gifts to villagers around the country ahead of the elections.
However, Dr Thabane has since vowed to continue disbursing the food items, arguing the department was helping needy communities.
According to Mr Metsing, the issue of food parcels was not straight forward as many Basotho still suffer due to hunger and needed food aid.
He, however, urged the recipients not to be swayed by food parcels but to vote for the party of their choice.
Responding to Mr Metsing’s allegations, Dr Thabane’s Press Secretary, Thabo Thakalekoala said the deputy premier should know that the Electoral Pledge does not supersede the constitution of Lesotho.
“The constitution of Lesotho if above the electoral pledge, which is just an instrument meant to facilitate a smooth running of the elections to avoid squabbles,” said Mr Thakalekoala.
He said the promotion or demotion of senior government officials would continue to take place, either effected by the prime minister or by ministers, in line with the laws and constitution of Lesotho.
LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing