Tha­bane to lead op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

All Ba­sothoBa Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader, Thomas Th Tha­bane, has been con­firmed Of­fi­cial Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment.

The largely ex­pected an­nounce­ment was made in the Na­tional As­sem­bly on Mon­day this w week by the Speaker, Nthloi Mot­samai, who w was read­ing it from a state­ment by the ABC N Na­tional ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee. With 46 Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) in the 120-seat leg­is­la­ture, the ABC is the coun­try’s big­gest op­po­si­tion party, while its for­mer coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ner, the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP), has seven. The other op­po­si­tion party in par­lia­ment, the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL), has two seats.

A coali­tion of seven par­ties led by the Demo­cratic Congress (47 seats), and also com­pris­ing the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (12 seats), More­mat­lou Free­dom Party (one seat), Ba­sotho Congress Party (one seat), Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party (one seat), Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (one seat) and Popular Front for Democ­racy (two seats), as­sumed power af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions — tak­ing over from the Dr Tha­bane-led gov­ern­ment made up of the ABC, BNP and LCD, which failed to com­plete its five-year term due to per­sis­tent squab­bling be­tween the lead­er­ship.

ABC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele told the Le­sotho Times that Dr Tha­bane’s ap­point­ment was “au­to­matic” since his party had the high­est num­ber of seats in the op­po­si­tion.

“It’s not about an elec­tion among op­po­si­tion par­ties, as such. By be­ing the leader of the ABC, which has the high­est seats on the op­po­si­tion side, this makes him the au­to­matic

choice for the po­si­tion,” said Mr Nt­sekele.

Asked about the al­leged squab­bles in the ABC and BNP re­gard­ing the lu­cra­tive post, Mr Nsekele said such claims were base­less and meant to cause un­nec­es­sary fric­tion be­tween the par­ties.

“When we meet as a Na­tional ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the ABC, au­to­mat­i­cally the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion seat be­longs to Ntate Tha­bane. It’s his seat; it’s only when he de­cides he can­not take the po­si­tion that there would be al­ter­na­tives.

“If he has de­cided to take the post, he has as­sumed an of­fice he is rightly en­ti­tled to as our leader.”

Mean­while, as Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, Dr Tha­bane is en­ti­tled to, among other benefits, an of­fice at par­lia­ment build­ings and perks equiv­a­lent to those given to a deputy min­is­ter.

Th­ese benefits in­clude two chauf­feur-driven gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cles, a per­sonal aide, an of­fice as­sis­tant, and a per­sonal sec­re­tary.

In ad­di­tion, Dr Tha­bane would also draw his monthly salary as a for­mer prime min­is­ter.

For­mer Prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane

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