I’m staying put: Mochoboroane
SMALL Business Development Minister Selibe Mochoboroane (pictured) has vowed to continue serving in the embattled seven-party coalition government “until the last whistle” amid speculation he intends to jump ship.
The firebrand Mr Mochoboroane, who is also Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) secretary-general also denounced his party’s participation in a contentious 18 September march to support the coalition government, saying it fuelled the infighting that has brought the Democratic Congress (DC) to the precipice of a split.
With six ministers and a deputy minister having so far resigned at the instigation of the DC National Executive Committee (NEC), speculation was rife Mr Mochoboroane would follow suit after he snubbed the march along with DC officials who have since withdrawn from the Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisililed government.
Organised by Lesotho People’s Congress official Bokang Ramatšella, the march was meant to show “full solidarity” with the coalition government and the “solid support” the alliance enjoyed from Basotho.
Dr Mosisili’s DC formed a coalition government with the LCD, Marematlou Freedom Party, Basotho Congress Party, National Independent Party, LPC and Popular Front for Democracy after the 28 February 2015 general elections resulted in a hung parliament.
Mr Mochoboroane’s spirited disassociation from the march triggered murmurs he had fallen out with his LCD colleagues and was only biding his time before joining the newlyinked alliance between the DC’S Lirurubele (butterflies) faction and the opposition bloc to form a new government.
Under the pact with the All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho, DC deputy leader Monyane Moleleki would lead the coalition for the first 18 months upon forming government.
However, in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Mr Mochoboroane said he was staying put and only relinquishing his ministerial position “if the government is ousted through lawful means”.
“I will stay put and serve the government led by Ntate Mosisili until the last day when I am lawfully told to stop. I have a mandate that I need to fulfil in government,” he said.
The Thabana-morena constituency member of parliament said he did not need to attend the march to show loyalty with the government. Dr Mosisili expressed consternation with ministers who did not participate in the march, saying it cast doubt on their loyalty.
“I didn’t need to participate in the march because delivering my mandate as a minister is enough to show support,” said Mr Mochoboroane.
“Even though I had been told the march was not meant to be political, it didn’t make sense to me because the people who were organising it and were at the forefront were politicians. I therefore decided not to go.”
He said it would have been foolhardy to attend a march that would stoke further divisions in the DC, especially given the LCD had been accused of causing the infighting in the main coalition partner. The Lirurubele faction in general, and the DC Youth League in particular, have accused the LCD of fomenting strife in the DC with the intention of swallowing the party.
“I thought it not wise to take part in the march considering the DC has been accusing the LCD of fueling its internal divisions. It wouldn’t have been wise to do so and it was totally against my principles,” Mochoboroane said.
“I still stand by my position of not calling for the Lirurubele faction ministers to resign or supporting those wanting to oust the government in parliament. I shall not be a part of or support any of those groups.”
He added: “I have no business meddling in the internal affairs of the DC, except workingng with them in governnment. I won’t takeke part in anything be-beyond that.
“Our parties are twotwo different entities and nd I respect the DC. I will not allow myself elf to be dragged into othther parties’ business, ss, especially negative ive business that’s meant ant to bring divisions.”
Mr Mochoboroane ne also touched on his recent reshufflingng from the Energy gy ministry, saying con- n- trary to some people’s claims, he was not demoted but given a more pertinent portfolio. “I know that a lot of people feel hard done by with the recent cabinet reshuffle, and some have said it was done maliciously. I beg to differ,” he said. “For me, the reshuffle couldn’t have come at a more opportune time given how impoverished Basotho are. The Small Business Development ministry is the hub of this countrycountry’ss economy and wwe need to empower our people. “I have no energy to fifight cheap political battles when my people are dying of hunger. My energy for small political battles is ccompletely depleteddepleted. The little energy I have reservedserved is to serve my pepeople and my country, regarregardless of wherwhere I am postposted. Until the last whistletle, I will wowork for my pepeople and my country.”