ABC-AD IN NEW ELEC­TION DEAL

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

THOMAS Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­nven­tion (ABC) and Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD) have agreedd to share votes in con­stituen­cies likely to be won by one of the par­ties in the event t of elec­tions to en­sure they oust Prime Min­is­nis­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili from power.

This was re­vealed by Mr Moleleki inn an exclusive in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week ahead of the of­fi­cial launch off the AD in Ma­sowe on Satur­day.

The vet­eran politi­cian said his par­tyy re­cently reached an agree­ment with the ABC to vote for a com­mon can­di­date in con­sti­tu­tituen­cies one of the par­ties was per­ceived to be stronger than the other.

A sec­ond gen­eral elec­tion barely two years af­ter the pre­vi­ous one has looked all the more likely af­ter the op­po­si­tion alliance mooted a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion in the Dr Mo­sisili-led seven party coali­tion gov­ern­ment.

The alliance, which in­cludes the ABC, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho, was last Novem­ber bol­stered af­ter Mr Moleleki, who was then Demo­cratic Congress (DC) deputy leader, signed a coali­tion pact with the tri­par­tite bloc to oust the gov­ern­ment.

Dr Mo­sisili, who is also DC leader, re­sponded by sus­pend­ing for six years Mr Moleleki and his “rebels” con­sist­ing of the ma­jor­ity of the party’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee.

Mr Moleleki then left the DC along with the bulk of the lead­ers of the DC’S women’s and youth leagues to form the AD last month. De­spite the terms of the coali­tion pact with the op­po­si­tion hav­ing changed with Mr Moleleki no longer be­ing DC deputy leader, the agree­ment held firm.

Un­der the agree­ment, Mr Moleleki would head the coali­tion for the first 18 months upon form­ing gov­ern­ment and there­after trade places with Dr Tha­bane who would ini­tially be deputy prime min­is­ter.

Dr Mo­sisili has since vowed to dis­solve par­lia­ment and call for snap elec­tions in the event of a no-con­fi­dence vote against his gov­ern­ment when par­lia­ment re­con­venes on 24 Fe­bru­ary.

With the par­ties hav­ing al­ready com­mit­ted to join­ing forces in par­lia­ment once it is re­con­vened, Mr Moleleki said they went a step fur­ther with the ABC by agree­ing to share votes in con­stituen­cies likely to be won by one of the par­ties.

“I and Ntate Tha­bane have agreed to vote for the ABC in the con­stituen­cies where the AD is not yet pop­u­lar enough to win an elec­tion,” he said.

“What we want to en­sure is for Ntate Mo­sisili to lose re­sound­ingly. And where we may find the AD a lit­tle bit ahead of the ABC, they will give their votes to us to en­sure that Ntate Mo­sisili and Ntate Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing (deputy prime min­is­ter) don’t win.”

While the op­po­si­tion would pre­fer Dr Mo­sisili to con­cede power in par­lia­ment in the event of the pass­ing of a no-con­fi­dence vote with­out go­ing for “costly” elec­tions, Mr Moleleki said they were “more than ready” for the polls if the premier takes that route.

He said dis­lodg­ing Mr Mets­ing, who is also Ma­hobong con­stituency leg­is­la­tor, from his par­lia­men­tary seat ranked high among their pri­or­i­ties.

“We, in the AD, are in all-sys­tems-go mode for any even­tu­al­ity in­clud­ing snap gen­eral elec­tions. We don’t as yet have good num­bers in Ma­hobong hence the de­ci­sion to vote for the ABC can­di­date to en­sure that Ntate Mets­ing doesn’t win that con­stituency.

“We are go­ing to smash him, so that the LCD will not even have one seat in par­lia­ment. On the other hand, the DC will be re­duced to in­signif­i­cant num­bers in par­lia­ment.”

The hold­ing of snap polls, Mr Moleleki said, would be tan­ta­mount to throw­ing the es­ti­mated M200 mil­lion needed for the elec­tions “down the drain to prove the ob­vi­ous fact that Ntate Mo­sisili no longer has the sup­port of Ba­sotho”.

“The gen­eral elec­tion is go­ing to cost this coun­try more than M200 mil­lion. We would be bet­ter off us­ing that money to build in­fra­struc­ture or to ini­ti­ate some devel­op­men­tal pro­grammes for this coun­try rather than to hold an­other elec­tion barely 24 months from the last elec­tion,” he said.

“That is not to say, how­ever, that we are scared of con­test­ing an elec­tion. The DC is dead but Ntate Mo­sisili doesn’t want to ac­cept that.”

Mr Moleleki also stressed the need for a gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity in Le­sotho, rea­son­ing the na­tion was “deeply po­larised” for one party to gov­ern on its own.

“Even if my party were to win an elec­tion by 61 seats, I don’t think our coun­try is ready for one party to gov­ern alone. We need at least 10 years of a gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity; con­sist­ing of all par­ties rep­re­sented in par­lia­ment,” he said.

“The pre­vail­ing cli­mate is so po­larised that we are not ready to have any one party gov­ern­ing alone. So if my party were to win out­right, I would still in­sist on invit­ing all the other par­ties rep­re­sented in par­lia­ment to be part of a gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity.”

The Machache con­stituency leg­is­la­tor also ad­mit­ted for the first time that the killing of for­mer army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma- hao was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was shot dead as he left his Mokema farm on 25 June 2015 by sol­diers who had come to ar­rest him on al­le­ga­tions he was the ring­leader of a group of sol­diers plot­ting to over­throw the army lead­er­ship. How­ever, the Ma­hao fam­ily has ac­cused the army of killing him in cold blood bas­ing on the ac­count of his neph­ews who were with him dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Mr Moleleki had pre­vi­ously echoed the gov­ern­ment’s line that the killing had no po­lit­i­cal con­no­ta­tions. He has also been at vari­ance with his op­po­si­tion col­leagues on the Amnesty Bill of 2016.

While Mr Moleleki has in­sisted a blan­ket amnesty for of­fences al­legedly com­mit­ted by mem­bers of the se­cu­rity sec­tor be­tween Jan­uary 2007 and De­cem­ber 2015 was im­per­a­tive to en­sure last­ing peace, the bloc has been stead­fast in as­sert­ing they should face jus­tice.

“Let us for­give but not for­get the trail of blood­shed which started on 26 De­cem­ber 1966 when a lot of peo­ple were shot dead on horse­back in Thaba-bo­siu,” he said.

“The last known po­lit­i­cally-in­spired death hap­pened in 2015 in Mokema. And I am not ap­por­tion­ing blame to any­one as yet. But I want to em­pha­sise that the last recorded po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated death hap­pened in Mokema in 2015. Since our in­de­pen­dence in 1966, there has been a trail of blood­shed, po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence, name call­ing, fin­ger point­ing and ex­ile. Enough is enough!”

The AD leader said Dr Mo­sisili no longer de­served to lead merely based on his “mis­man­age­ment” of a gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cle fleet ten­der awarded to Bid­vest Bank Lim­ited.

Mr Moleleki and his sup­port­ers have ac­cused some gov­ern­ment min­is­ters of im­pro­pri­ety in award­ing it to the South African firm.

“I was part of the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho when it budge bud­geted M186 mil­lion for trans­port. You k know how much money has been spen spent up to now? It’s more than M300 mil mil­lion.

“The a ad­di­tional M120 mil­lion was col­lected from other gov­ern­ment pro­gramme grammes. I am not go­ing to be part of a gov­ern­ment­gov that di­verts money meant for cru­cial pro­grammes to please B Bid­vest.”

He sa said when the Na­tional Assem­bly rec re­con­venes late next month, he would o of­fi­cially in­tro­duce his party as part of t the op­po­si­tion.

“First thing I will do af­ter the open­ing praye prayer is to stand up on a point of or­der and say to the speaker (Ntl­hoi Mot­samai) Mot­samai); ‘ you were in­formed about our party.’ “We will haveha sub­mit­ted our letter to of­fi­cially in­form her about the AD by then. She will then give us time to cross to the op­po­si­tion sid side. Hence­forth, I will of­fi­cially be a mem­ber­membe of the op­po­si­tion. And as the op­posi op­po­si­tion, we are a gov­ern­ment in waiting and we are pre­pared for elec­tions.”

Mr Moleleki re­peated his vow to block bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions in the au­gust house if their no-con­fi­dence mo­tion was de­clined “thereby col­laps­ing the gov­ern­ment”.

“When a gov­ern­ment fails to pass the bud­get, in any self-re­spect­ing democ­racy that sym­bol­ises the col­lapse of that gov­ern­ment even with­out a vote of no con­fi­dence. I can prom­ise you that I am go­ing to top­ple the gov­ern­ment by op­pos­ing its bud­get.”

He also touched on the pes­simism by some of the vi­a­bil­ity of his pact with Dr Tha­bane.

“Like I said, even if I may win elec­tion out­right, I don’t think our coun­try is ready for any other party to gov­ern alone yet. We are too po­larised. “And be­cause we are deeply po­larised, it means we are al­ways go­ing to dif­fer on cer­tain is­sues of pub­lic con­cern. We have got to find the way and be ma­ture enough to al­ways find a com­pro­mise so­lu­tion.

“We have agreed with Ntate Tha­bane that that I will take the first 18 months as prime min­is­ter and he will take the rest of the re­main­ing time. That is power shar­ing for me. It is a home-grown for­mula.”

Turn­ing to the AD’S of­fi­cial launch, Mr Moleleki said he was ex­pect­ing be­tween 30 000 and 40 000 peo­ple to con­verge at the rally, in which he is ex­pected to ar­rive in a he­li­copter.

“My sup­port­ers have ar­ranged for a he­li­copter to drop me off at the launch. The theme of my speech will be to in­tro­duce our party, its struc­tures, flag and its main pil­lars. We have three main pil­lars of our party: First, it is na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and the unity of pur­pose go­ing for­ward. It is sym­bol­ised by the white dom­i­nant colour of the AD.

“The sec­ond pil­lar is pu­rity. Pu­rity in gov­er­nance; zero tol­er­ance to cor­rup­tion; to­tal un­ac­cep­tance of graft in pub­lic af­fairs. The third pil­lar is pro­vid­ing eco­nomic hope for the young peo­ple of Le­sotho. A gov­ern­ment which I will be part of will pro­vide an an­nual bud­get for Ba­sotho youth to come up with good ideas and bank­able projects.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, ABC Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele shied away from com­ment­ing about his party’s elec­toral agree­ment with the AD, say­ing: “The lead­ers met and dis­cussed that is­sue at their level. I can­not com­ment about it be­cause it has not reached my level as yet.”

I and Ntate Tha­bane have agreed to vote for the ABC in the con­stituen­cies where the AD is not yet pop­u­lar enough to win an elec­tion

AD leader Monyane Moleleki

ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane. AD leader Monyane Moleleki.

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