Metsing in­ten­si­fies ABC at­tacks

Lesotho Times - - News - Le­tuka Chafotsa Le­tuka Chafotsa

BUTHA-BUTHE — Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) leader Mo­thetjoa Metsing on Sun­day urged party sup­port­ers to en­sure the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) are never part of gov­ern­ment again.

The LCD, ABC and BNP formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment af­ter the 26 May 2012 Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions had failed to pro­duce an out­right ma­jor­ity win­ner.

How­ever, ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane — who be­came prime min­is­ter af­ter the three par­ties had pooled their par­lia­men­tary seats to­gether to en­sure they gar­nered the min­i­mum 62 re­quired by the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion for the for­ma­tion of a gov­ern­ment — fell­out with Mr Metsing, the deputy pre­mier early last year over gov­er­nance is­sues, prompt­ing an early elec­tion on 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015.

Ad­dress­ing an LCD rally in Butha-buthe at the week­end, Mr Metsing said forg­ing an al­liance with the ABC and BNP had been a “big mis­take”.

“The LCD should con­sol­i­date our sup­port through­out the coun­try to make sure we achieve our de­sired re­sult of be­com­ing gov­ern­ment when we even­tu­ally go for elec­tions next month,” Mr Metsing told the cheer­ing crowd.

“We are here today be­cause we de­feated ene­mies of democ­racy, who are the ABC and BNP. We should con­tinue crush­ing these two par­ties and make sure they don’t rule Le­sotho again.

“The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity lis­tened to us and we ended up de­feat­ing these op­po­nents of good gov­er­nance and democ­racy that we, the LCD, be­lieve in.

Peo­ple were al­ways ask­ing me what we thought we were do­ing by form­ing a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with Tha­bane be­cause they said he was some­one who could not be trusted.

How­ever, we went ahead with the coali­tion and it failed due to Tha­bane’s con­duct, which proved those peo­ple right.”

Mr Metsing also told the wellat­tended rally that by agree­ing to sus­pend par­lia­ment for nine months on 10 June 2014, the ABC leader and his BNP coun­ter­part, Sports Min­is­ter Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, had clearly shown that “they did not care about the peo­ple”.

“Why pro­rogue par­lia­ment, and cur­tail the na­tion’s right to free­dom of ex­pres­sion through their rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Na­tional As­sem­bly?” Mr Metsing said.

“Why are they now go­ing up and down ask­ing for the peo­ple’s votes, while they sup­ported par­lia­ment’s pro­ro­ga­tion, which ef­fec­tively meant peo­ple’s voices could no longer be heard?

“Tha­bane sus­pended par­lia­ment be­cause he was run­ning away from a vote-of-no-con­fi­dence that the MPS wanted to pass on him be­cause of his poor lead­er­ship.

Yet he ended up say­ing the pro­ro­ga­tion was part of his strat­egy to fight cor­rup­tion, which was not true at all.

“Couldn’t he fight the cor­rup­tion while par­lia­ment was open? That man is to­tally mis­guided; he hates democ­racy and we will not al­low him to ruin our democ­racy ever again.”

Mr Metsing fur­ther ac­cused Dr Tha­bane of desta­bil­is­ing the coun­try by al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing the Elec­toral Pledge (EP) signed by party lead­ers last month.

The EP com­mit­ted the par­ties to en­sure a free and fair elec­tion, and was signed be­fore South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The EP, among other is­sues, stip­u­lated that the coali­tion lead- BUTHA-BUTHE — Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) leader, Mo­thetjoa Metsing, has vowed to take le­gal action against Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo, who has ac­cused him of fail­ing to ac­count for M20 mil­lion in pub­lic funds.

Speak­ing at a cam­paign rally held on Sun­day in Butha-buthe, Mr Metsing said he would “def­i­nitely” sue Chief Mo­lapo for the “ma­li­cious” al­le­ga­tion.

Mr Metsing, who is also the coun­try’s deputy prime min­is­ter, said he would not wait for next month’s snap elec­tion be­fore drag­ging Chief Mo­lapo to court for his “ut­ter­ances”.

Chief Mo­lapo told a BNP cam­paign rally held in Ma­put­soe a fort­night ago that M20 mil­lion of the M53 mil­lion al­lo­cated to the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Chief­tain­ship Af­fairs for de­vel­op­men­tal projects could not be ac­counted for, and fin­gered Mr Metsing for the miss­ing funds.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing deputy pre­mier, Mr Metsing is also the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Chief­tain­ship Af­fairs min­is­ter.

His bit­ter com­plaint that Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane was not con­sult­ing him, as his deputy, when mak­ing key de­ci­sions on gov­er­nance, even­tu­ally forced Le­sotho — which formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment of the LCD, BNP and Dr Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) in June 2012 — to go for Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions two years ear­lier than orig­i­nally

ers, who are now in power on a care­taker ba­sis, should re­frain from mak­ing se­nior gov­ern­ment ap­point­ments dur­ing the elec­tion sched­uled. ed.

“I willill not wait to be­come prime min­is­ter first be­fore I sue Mo­lapo. In fact, I will take him to court t be­fore next month’s elec­tions,” Mr Metsing said.

“These al­le­ga­tions are base­less and I will sue ev­ery sin­gle per­son who has been say­ing that I stole the funds.

“Ini­tially, these de­trac­tors were say­ing that I stole M53 mil­lion from the min­istry, and now they have sud­denly changed and are claim­ing that it is M20 mil­lion, which is miss­ing. T

”hat is how these ma­li­cious peo­ple are, these na­tion­al­ists. They never tell the na­tion the truth.

“But Mo­lapo will have to prove that I stole the M20 mil­lion when I take the mat­ter to court.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Metsing, the al­le­ga­tions were meant to “de­stroy” the LCD and tar­nish his im­age as an in­di­vid­ual.

“The plan is to de­stroy the LCD by de­mor­al­is­ing our sup­port­ers. They want to hu­mil­i­ate our sup­port­ers by say­ing they have a cor­rupt leader; they want peo­ple to be ashamed of me as their leader.

“The LCD is grow­ing in leaps and bounds, so some peo­ple are now des­per­ate and want to desta­bilise it through these ma­li­cious fab­ri­ca­tions.

“We bought cater­pil­lars and trucks with that money, but sud­denly, some peo­ple are mis­guid­ing them­selves by mak­ing all sorts of al­le­ga­tions against me.

“They want peo­ple to turn against the LCD and me as the leader of the party.”

pe­riod, which be­gan on 8 De­cem­ber and ends on 7 March 2015.

How­ever, Dr Tha­bane has been mak­ing some ap­point­ments, which

Mr Metsing fur­ther said if he has done any­thing wrong, he would wel­come a “proper” in­ves­ti­ga­tion against him.

“I am not op­posed to any proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion aimed at erad­i­cat­ing cor­rup­tion from our so­ci­ety.

“How­ever, I have a prob­lem with peo­ple who use such in­ves­ti­ga­tions to kill our party, which is re­al­is­ing such phe­nom­e­nal growth, as we speak.

The cru­sade against cor­rup­tion must be gen­uine and should not be di­rected at LCD mem­bers only.”

Asked to com­ment on Mr Metsing’s threat to sue him, Chief Mo­lapo said he was ready for “any­thing”.

Chief Mo­lapo, who is also Home Af­fairs min­is­ter, re­peated the same al­le­ga­tion which has an­gered the deputy pre­mier.

“I am ready to go to court, un­like him who runs away and is afraid of the law, I don’t fear the courts, be­cause I know what I am do­ing and say­ing,” Chief Mo­lapo said.

“It is a fact that Metsing could not ac­count for these funds, as I men­tioned in Ma­put­soe.

“This man wants to take me to court while he al­ways runs away from the same courts, but that is fine with me be­cause I have noth­ing to fear.

The na­tion will then know what he re­ally is, should he de­cide to take that le­gal route

in­clude the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary for Cabi­net Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and Court of Ap­peal who is ex­pected to be sworn-in to­mor­row.

The pre­mier says he has the au­thor­ity to make such ap­point­ments, but Mr Metsing begs to dif­fer. “All this is in vi­o­la­tion of the Elec­toral Pledge that we all signed be­fore (South African vice-pres­i­dent) Mr Ramaphosa. This should not be hap­pen­ing and yet Tha­bane is do­ing it with im­punity.”

Mean­while, for­mer ABC chair­man and erst­while long-time friend of Dr Tha­bane, Mol­ubeli Soulo, told the LCD faith­ful to en­sure the pre­mier and Chief ‘Maserib­ane, do not re­tain power.

“Tha­bane is not se­ri­ous about the de­vel­op­ment of this coun­try, so you should go to the polling sta­tions and vote for the LCD so that we de­feat ene­mies of this coun­try,” said Mr Soulo, who quit the ABC last month fol­low­ing a dra­matic fall­out with Dr Tha­bane, who had ear­lier fired him from his cabi­net post.

“Tha­bane is a joke; you can see how he han­dles gov­er­nance is­sues so reck­lessly. How­ever, this coun­try did the no­ble thing by giv­ing him a chance to rule.

“So now that he has failed, the na­tion should re­move him from power through your vote.”

Mr Soulo fur­ther con­demned Dr Tha­bane for his “mis­placed pri­or­i­ties”.

“He once said he would leave of­fice and go with his lover if nec­es­sary af­ter he was ques­tioned about the re­la­tion­ship, so he does not care about the in­ter­ests of the na­tion,” Mr Soulo said.

“If you re­main united, this bad gov­er­nance we saw under Tha­bane will be a thing of the past.

“We would have de­feated ene­mies of democ­racy and the peo­ple will live in har­mony once again.”

SOME of the LCD sup­port­ers at the rally. LCD leader Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Metsing

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