Mo­sisili back in power

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

DEMO­CRATIC Congress (DC) leader Pakalitha Mo­sisili is back as Le­sotho’s prime min­is­ter, ex­actly 33 months af­ter hand­ing over power to his All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion ( ABC) coun­ter­part, Thomas Tha­bane.

A coali­tion of seven par­ties namely the DC, Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party, Ba­sotho Congress Party (BCP), Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party (NIP), Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (LPC) and Popular Front for Democ­racy (PFD), yes­ter­day elected Dr Mo­sisili the coun­try’s next prime min­is­ter — sig­nalling a spec­tac­u­lar come­back for the 69-yearold for­mer uni­ver­sity lec­turer.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence at the BCP head­quar­ters in Maseru yes­ter­day, Dr Mo­sisili said the al­liance had elected him the coun­try’s next prime min­is­ter, while LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing would be his deputy.

MFP leader Moeketse Malebo, BCP leader Thulo Mahlak­eng, NIP leader Kimetso Mathaba, and LPC leader Mo­lahlehi Let­lotlo were also present at the mid­day press con­fer­ence.

How­ever, PFD leader Lekhetho Rakuoane was not at the me­dia brief­ing as he was at­tend­ing his party’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) meet­ing. But ac­cord­ing to Dr Mo­sisili, the PFD was part of the al­liance which had de­cided to bring “change” to Le­sotho fol­low­ing two years of “chaotic rule” un­der Dr Tha­bane’s premier­ship.

“Th­ese lead­ers sit­ting here are go­ing to bring change to Le­sotho. In democ­racy, we say the peo­ple are al­ways right, just like cus­tomers in a busi­ness; even when they are wrong, they are still right,” Dr Mo­sisili said, adding that Ba­sotho had made the right de­ci­sion to end Dr Tha­bane’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment. Dr Mo­sisili promised not to dis­ap­point as Prime Min­is­ter, vow­ing that his coali­tion would prove durable and would not col­lapse like Dr Tha­bane’s.

Soon af­ter mak­ing this an­nounce­ment, the six coali­tion lead­ers then signed an agree­ment, which read:

“We, the un­der­signed po­lit­i­cal par­ties that have been elected to the 9th Par­lia­ment of the King­dom of Le­sotho fol­low­ing the (28) Fe­bru­ary 2015 Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions, duly rep­re­sented herein by our re­spec­tive party lead­ers, have agreed to form a coali­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ties pursuant to Sec­tion 87 (2) of the con­sti­tu­tion of Le­sotho and hereby con­firm and record our agree­ment in this re­gard.

“The par­ties hereto, agree that the leader of the Demo­cratic Congress (DC), Dr Pakalitha Bethuel Mo­sisili, shall be the leader of coali­tion and the leader of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, shall be the deputy leader of the coali­tion.

“This Coali­tion Agree­ment shall come into force im­me­di­ately upon the sign­ing hereof by the party lead­ers and shall sub­sist un­til the dis­so­lu­tion of the 9th Par­lia­ment and gov­ern­ment formed hereto. Thus done and signed in Maseru on the 4th day of March 2015.”

Dr Mo­sisili re­as­sured the na­tion that the “Congress al­liance” would not col­lapse midterm the way the ABC, LCD and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) coali­tion fell apart last year due to in­fight­ing by the lead­er­ship, which led to last Satur­day’s snap elec­tion bro­kered by the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC).

The DC won 47 of the 120 par­lia­men­tary seats on of­fer, while the ABC, LCD, BNP, Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho, PFD, BCP, LPC, MFP and NIP took 46, 12, seven, two, two, one, one, one and one, re­spec­tively.

Be­cause none of the par­ties had won the min­i­mum 61 seats needed to form gov­ern­ment on its own, the “Congress move­ment” then de­cided to band to­gether and form gov­ern­ment — mark­ing the end of Dr Tha- bane’s tur­bu­lent rule characterised by bit­ter feuds with his deputy, Mr Mets­ing.

Dr Mo­sisili said the pre­vi­ous coali­tion gov­ern­ment col­lapsed be­cause of the part­ners’ lack of re­spect for its “prin­ci­ples and con­di­tions”.

“Prin­ci­ples and con­di­tions of a coali­tion gov­ern­ment should be re­spected and if not, it won’t work. Coali­tion gov­ern­ments ex­ist in the world and have been work­ing for years. This coun­try should not give the im­pres­sion that a gov­ern­ment of more than one party doesn’t work,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

The “broad na­ture” of his al­liance — and shared vi­sion for peace and sta­bil­ity of its lead­er­ship — would en­sure its en­durance, he added.

“Our al­liance is quite broad in na­ture and has a sig­nif­i­cant num- ber of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers un­like that one which col­lapsed,” the DC leader said.

Asked how the in­com­ing gov­ern­ment was go­ing to end ten­sion be­tween the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) and Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) since it was one of the rea­sons the coun­try was forced to go for elec­tions two years ahead of sched­ule, Dr Mo­sisili said: “It is my firm be­lief that there is no se­cu­rity prob­lem in Le­sotho. The main prob­lem within the two se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions was Prime Min­is­ter Tha­bane whose term is for­tu­nately com­ing to an end.

“We be­lieve the mis­takes that Ntate Tha­bane made are now a thing of the past and there won’t be any prob­lems be­tween the two se­cu­rity agen­cies.”

Ac­cord­ing to the DC leader, Dr Tha­bane had claimed that the army tried to over­throw his gov­ern­ment on 30 Au­gust 2014, prompt­ing his “es­cape” to South Africa but failed to pro­vide proof of the at­tempted coup d’état to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity .

“Tha­bane claimed that the army tried to over­throw his gov­ern­ment but failed to pro­vide the proof. The sol­diers did their op­er­a­tion on that day (of the al­leged coup) and fol­low­ing its com­ple­tion, they all went to the bar­racks.

“One should ask: if in­deed there was an at­tempted coup, who stopped it?”

Dr Mo­sisili also said state­ments he made dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign that “wa­ter and oil” did not mix had been mis­in­ter­preted by the me­dia and ri­val politi­cians.

“The oil and wa­ter is­sue has been taken out of con­text. I was re­fer­ring to the congress and na­tion­als as oil and wa­ter to ex­plain that they come from dif­fer­ent ide­olo­gies and that it will be dif­fi­cult to bring them to­gether,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

Mr Mets­ing, on the other hand, said he was con­fi­dent Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity crises would come to an end un­der the new gov­ern­ment be­cause of Dr Mo­sisili’s ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I am con­fi­dent that Ntate Mo­sisili is go­ing to re­store the coun­try’s dig­nity and re­spect of the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter, which had been lost in the two-and-a-half years Ntate Tha­bane was in power,” Mr Mets­ing said.

“I as­sure you all that im­me­di­ately af­ter Ntate Mo­sisili takes over the PM’S of­fice, its dig­nity would au­to­mat­i­cally be re­stored be­cause he is pro­fes­sional and prin­ci­pled.

“He ex­celled when he was the prime min­is­ter from 1998 to 2012 and I am con­vinced Ntate Mo­sisili is go­ing to do a good job of end­ing the prob­lems that had emerged be­tween the army and po­lice dur­ing Ntate Tha­bane’s lead­er­ship.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Moahloli Mphaka said the new prime min­is­ter was “likely” to be in­au­gu­rated on 17 March and min­is­ters sworn-in two days later.

Th­ese lead­ers sit­ting here are go­ing to bring change to Le­sotho. In democ­racy, we say the peo­ple are al­ways right, just like cus­tomers in a busi­ness; even when they are wrong, they are still right

DC leader Pakalitha Mo­sisili ar­rives at BCP grounds to an­nounce the new coali­tion gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day.

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