I was pushed out of ABC: Maisa

Lesotho Times - - Big In­ter­view -

FOR­MER All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion ( ABC) stal­warts Tlali Khasu and Pitso Maisa re­cently formed a new party dubbed Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Unity (TRU).

Mr Khasu, who was pre­vi­ously the ABC’S deputy leader, left the main op­po­si­tion party af­ter los­ing a pro­tracted court bid to over­turn his sus­pen­sion for cas­ti­gat­ing party leader Thomas Tha­bane.

In an­nounc­ing his de­par­ture from the ABC, Mr Khasu said he would not leave alone but be joined by “man­many oth­ers” be­ing “per­se­cuted”ed” in the party suchsu as Mr Maisa, who is also Motim­poso con­stit­con­stituency leg­is­la­tor. How­ever, last week Dr Tha­bane chided the duo for be­be­ing “un­grate­ful” in leav­ing the party dedespite all he had done for them. The fformer premier said he ap­point­ed­pointed Mr Maisa min­is­ter in the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice when even though he had no ed­u­ca­tionaledu qual­i­fi­ca­tions. In this in­ter­view, Le­sotho Times ( LT) re­pore­porter, Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane,yane, spe­s­peaks with Mr Maisa, who is now the TTRU deputy leader, on these and other is­sues.

LT: You de­cided to form a new party af­ter fall­ing out with Dr Tha­banebane and thet ABC. Briefly ex­plain where it wentw wrong?

Maisa: To be hon­est I don’t think Ntate Tha­bane failed me. The main prob­lem in the ABC is poopoor ad­min­is­tra­tion by some Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive­ex­e­cut Com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­bers.bers. Of late, they have de­vel­oped a ten­dency of ap­proach­ing NtateN Tha­bane to talk about us be­hind our bacback. Un­for­tu­nately, it then ap­peared to Ntate Tha­bane as if we had snubbed the meet­ing, whereas we were not told about such meet­ings.ings. Ntate Thabtha­bane was made to be­lieve that we were un­der­miningund him. Yet, I used to ap­proach him tot dis­cuss some is­sues I was con­cerned about aand also to in­quire about his health and well-bbe­ing.

LT: So what ex­act­lyexa hap­pened?

Maisa: What I ca­came to re­alise was that some of the NEC mem­bersmemb were re­ally at war with us. At first, I thought­tho it was not a big deal but later re­alised they were plot­ting against us. Ahead of the 2015 elec­tion, there was a fierce ar­gu­ment oover who should rep­re­sent the ABC in the Motim­poso con­stituency. I think the war start­ed­sta around the time when some NEC mem­b­mem­bers launched a clan­des­tine cam­paign to oust me as the ABC can­di­date for Motim­poso. I was not afraidafrai of the com­pe­ti­tion, and I will never be afra­iafraid as long as I re­main a politi­cian.iti­cian. But the wway some ABC-NEC mem­bers­bers han­dled thatth is­sue in 2015 was a sign of war. I would have un­der­stood if I was at war with oth­eother par­ties com­pet­ing for the Motim­poso con­stituency.co But strangely it was with peo­plepe who were in the same party as mme. They held clan­des­tine meet­ings with­within my con­stituency dur­ing the night with­out my knowl­ed­edge, let alone my au­tho­ris­sa­tion. As our lead­ers, the NEC mem­bers were sup­posed to lead by ex­am­ple. Bbut what can you ex­pect when such peo­ple are bi­ased and have vested in­ter­ests in ththe con­stituen­cies we re­pressent?

LT:L Did you at­tempt to ad­dressa these is­sues?

Maisa: We tried to ad­dress this is­sue many times even be­fore Ntate Tha­bane. We have of­ten told the NEC mem­bers that the ABC was not their per­sonal brief­case. The party was sup­posed to be for all mem­bers; it does not be­long to their fam­i­lies, there­fore they can­not run it in the same way as their fam­i­lies. The ten­sion es­ca­lated when the NEC started writ­ing let­ters about is­sues that con­cerned the Motim­poso con­stituency yet such let­ters were not ad­dressed to the con­stituency com- mit­tee.

They were ad­dressed to the branch com­mit­tees within the con­stituency. As the NEC, how do you ad­dress con­stituency is­sues with­out in­volv­ing the con­stituency com­mit­tee? That is bad ad­min­is­tra­tion. Later, they launched another pro­pa­ganda cam­paign claim­ing that I was leav­ing the ABC.

That was long be­fore I even thought of leav­ing the party. In all hon­estly, there was no truth in that. But I have re­alised that if peo­ple re­ally want to push you out of a party, they can do any­thing and you will even­tu­ally leave be­cause you will be left with no other op­tion. All the ABC leg­is­la­tors would at­tend a meet­ing in Ficks­burg with­out me and Ntate Khasu know­ing about such a meet­ing. They in­ten­tion­ally left us out.

LT: We know that Mr Khasu was sus­pended from the NEC and lost court bat­tles to over­turn that de­ci­sion lead­ing him to re­sign from the party. What prompted you to jump ship?

Maisa: We knew for a long time that Ntate Khasu faced dis­missal from the party. That was be­fore he was sus­pended. I knew that I was the next tar­get. Their in­ten­tion was to pounce on me when an elec­tion was close. They wanted to en­sure that I would not only lose my ABC can­di­dacy in Motim­poso, but also not have the time and chance to se­cure an al­ter­na­tive po­lit­i­cal home. Luck­ily, I was smart enough to see through their plan so I quit and now have a new po­lit­i­cal home.

LT: Did you ap­proach Dr Tha­bane specif­i­cally over those is­sues?

Maisa: I did so sev­eral times. But I was not sat­is­fied by his re­sponses. I even ad­vised Ntate Tha­bane about three peo­ple in the NEC whom I am con­vinced are de­stroy­ing the party. I won’t men­tion their names but the trio was there when I told Ntate Tha­bane about this. I did not go be­hind their back the way they did with me. I am a frank per­son. I call a spade a spade. I don’t mince words when I con­front you.

I gave up when I re­alised from Ntate Tha­bane’s re­sponse that he was not tak­ing my word se­ri­ously. I had even ad­vised Ntate Tha­bane to pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pend the NEC while he is still in ex­ile and com­mu­ni­cate is­sues di­rectly with leg­is­la­tors in their re­spec­tive con­stituen­cies. This is be­cause as long as he re­lies on the NEC, the ABC would be in dan­ger. A lot of ABC leg­is­la­tors are likely to suf­fer from the ac­tions of the NEC even af­ter my de­par­ture and that of Ntate Khasu.

The NEC mem­bers want to re­place the MPS with their own peo­ple. Like I said, com­pe­ti­tion is good. But when the NEC is bi­ased and wants cer­tain peo­ple to re­place the party MPS that is an un­fair war against the leg­is­la­tors who worked so hard to gar­ner the elec­torate’s votes.

LT: It has been al­leged that some peo­ple in the ABC were jeal­ous when Dr Tha­bane ap­pointed you min­is­ter in his pre­vi­ous regime. The ar­gu­ment was that you were “un­qual­i­fied.” What do you say to that?

Maisa: I can­not be sure whether that was jeal­ousy or not. I can only tell you that while they were fight­ing me I stood up for what I be­lieved was right for the party. The only per­son who seemed to un­der­stand my po­si­tion in the NEC was Ntate Khasu. But you will re­alise that al­though Ntate Khasu was deputy leader and ide­ally sup­posed to as­sume Ntate Tha­bane’s pow­ers since the leader is in ex­ile, he was stripped off such pow­ers by the NEC.

He was be­ing treated like a mi­nor in the party. For in­stance, the NEC mem­bers would snub meet­ings con­vened by Ntate Khasu. Ntate Khasu was even un­fairly de­nied the po­si­tion of leader of the op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment even though Ntate Tha­bane was in ex­ile.

LT: You sound like you still like the ABC and Dr Tha­bane. Do you think you might change your mind as the ten­sion sub­sides with time and go back to the party?

Maisa: I will never go back to the ABC un­der any cir­cum­stances. How­ever, I shall for­ever cher­ish Ntate Tha­bane. I re­gard him as my fa­ther be­cause of the trust he once be­stowed on me and gave me an op­por­tu­nity to spread my wings and re­alise my po­ten­tial. I don’t mind the fact that re­cently he called me names. I was con­cerned though about a state­ment he re­cently made dur­ing an ABC rally in Motim­poso that I claimed to be ed­u­cated when I was not. I can­not brag about some­thing I don’t have. I am not that kind of a per­son. I know quite well that I have not reached cer­tain lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion and there­fore can­not claim to be lit­er­ate.

At the same time, I can­not go to my par­ents’ graves and in­sult them for not en­rolling me at a univer­sity. I come from a very poor back­ground. I have never been asked about my cre­den­tials by any­one and claimed to have ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Even Ntate Tha­bane him­self never asked about my cre­den­tials when he ap­pointed me min­is­ter. We can­not all be ed­u­cated and hold high qual­i­fi­ca­tions in this world; that is a given.

It is a pity that I will now have to face Ntate Tha­bane in the po­lit­i­cal bat­tle­field be­cause I am in a new party. Though I re­gard him as my fa­ther, I am not go­ing to nurse him in the po­lit­i­cal bat­tle­field. TRU is a new party open to every Mosotho to join. One thing I can prom­ise is that I am go­ing to win the Motim­poso con­stituency un­der the TRU ban­ner. The ABC will def­i­nitely lose this con­stituency.

LT: There are al­ready a lot of po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the coun­try. Was it nec­es­sary to form a new party rather than to join an ex­ist­ing one?

Maisa: I left the ABC with a heavy heart. I was an­gry and my heart was bro­ken. If I joined another party, I would fail with dis­tinc­tion be­cause of the anger in me. I had ded­i­cated my­self to serve the ABC and no other party and that is why I was so hurt when things went out of con­trol. I could not imag­ine serv­ing any other party. That’s why we felt it was best to es­tab­lish our own party.

I was not afraid of the com­pe­ti­tion, and I will never be afraid as long as I re­main a politi­cian. But the way some ABC-NEC mem­bers han­dled that is­sue in 2015 was a sign of war

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