ABC warned against com­pla­cency

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

BUTHA-BUTHE – THE All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) has been warned to be vig­i­lant in pro­tect­ing its sup­port base from new po­lit­i­cal par­ties ahead of the 3 June 2017 gen­eral elec­tions.

This was said by the party’s los­ing pri­mary elec­tion can­di­date in the Hololo con­stituency, Nt­sat­sana Phera, dur­ing his con­ces­sion speech last Sun­day.

The win­ner, Tlokotsi Many­ooko, also beat Mama­hele Radebe who was the con­stituency’s leg­is­la­tor for the ABC in the re­cently dis­solved Na­tional Assem­bly.

Mr Phera said the ABC could not af­ford to be com­pla­cent since young party sup­port­ers were be­ing wooed by new po­lit­i­cal en­trants such as the Al­liance of Democrats (AD) and Move­ment for Eco­nomic Change (MEC) “with t-shirts and other free­bies”.

The AD was formed last De­cem­ber by former Demo­cratic Congress deputy leader Monyane Moleleki while the MEC was launched in Fe­bru­ary this year by former Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) sec­re­tary-gen­eral Se­libe Mo­choboroane.

The ABC, Mr Moleleki, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho had signed a coali­tion pact on 24 Novem­ber 2016 to oust the Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili-led seven party coali­tion gov­ern­ment in par­lia­ment.

Un­der the agree­ment, Mr Moleleki would lead the coali­tion for the first 18 months upon form­ing gov­ern­ment and there­after trade places with ABC leader and former pre­mier Thomas Tha­bane who would ini­tial- ly be deputy prime min­is­ter.

While their ob­jec­tive of col­laps­ing the gov­ern­ment was achieved through a par­lia­men­tary no-confidence vote on 1 March 2017, the op­po­si­tion bloc’s other goal of im­me­di­ately form­ing a new gov­ern­ment was dashed after Dr Mo­sisili ad­vised King Let­sie III to dis­solve par­lia­ment.

His Majesty ac­qui­esced to the ad­vice to dis­solve par­lia­ment on 6 March 2017 and days later pro­claimed 3 June 2017 as elec­tion day.

The ABC has since de­cided to field can­di­dates in all the coun­try’s 80 con­stituency seats with­out join­ing forces with its op­po­si­tion al­lies de­spite the DC, LCD and Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy (PFD) hav­ing forged an elec­toral pact.

Un­der the pact, the DC will con­test in 54 con­stituen­cies while the LCD will fight in 25 to avoid vote split­ting. The PFD will field a sin­gle can­di­date in its strong­hold of Qalo in Butha-buthe.

Dr Tha­bane re­cently stated that they would only come up with another al­liance after the votes had been counted and the per­for­mance of other po­ten­tial coali­tion par­ties tested.

In his re­marks, Mr Phera urged ABC stal­warts to “wake up from their slum­ber” of not re­al­is­ing the ef­fect the new par­ties were hav­ing on their sup­port base.

He said the sol­i­dar­ity be­tween the op­po­si­tion bloc par­ties should not come at the cost of re­duc­ing the ABC’S elec­toral sup­port, adding that party sup­port­ers should stop wear­ing other par­ties’ re­galia.

“We should be in­de­pen­dent and work hard to en­sure our fol­low­ers re­main in the party and don’t get at­tracted to other par­ties,” said Mr Phera, adding that he would whole­heart­edly sup­port the pri­mary elec­tion win­ner Mr Many­ooko.

“Let’s work hard and en­sure that our new can­di­date wins this con­stituency. We have to make sure that we bring Ntate Tha­bane enough seats to en­sure he is the next prime min­is­ter.”

For his part, Mr Many­ooko, who is a former Bokoro High School teacher, urged the ABC faith­ful to unite so as to en­sure the party wins the con­stituency. He promised to im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions of the Hololo con­stituency res­i­dents if elected into the Na­tional Assem­bly.

Mr Many­ooko also vowed to use the M500 000 in­ter­est-free loans given to leg­is­la­tors for de­vel­op­men­tal projects in the con­stituency and not for per­sonal use.

“That half a mil­lion mal­oti peo­ple are al­ways ar­gu­ing about is yours if I am elected,” he said.

“All you have to do is come up with var­i­ous projects that can be funded by that money. If we lose on 3 June, then you would have lost the M500 000.”

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