ABC bigwigs fight over Prime Minister Majoro
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…as factions rear ugly head in ruling party
By Mamello Mosaefane
A belligerent group in ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) National Executive Committee has called for Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s redeployment amid opposing faction led by deputy leader Nqosa Mahao gritty resistance.
An alleged party resolution that Dr. Majoro must be redeployed was announced by party Spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa following the party’s meeting on Monday.
But, Mahao, who also serves in Majoro’s cabinet as Minister of Law, justice, and correctional services, denounced the call for Majoro’s redeployment as a decision of a faction led by Secretary-General Lebohang Hlaele concocted at his private home and not a resolution of the collective national executive committee of the ABC.
Mahao yesterday alongside party Chairperson Tsoinyane Rapapa, Deputy Secretary-General Nkaku Kabi, Treasurer Tlali Mohapi, Deputy Spokesperson Matebatso Doti, and others told a press briefing the party’s Monday meeting had not made any resolution to redeploy Prime Minister Majoro.
Mahao gave a graphic detail of the party’s Monday meeting which was supposedly intended to deal with Majoro’s fate after he allegedly reshuffled cabinet and fired a party stalwart Minister Prince Maliehe who is supposedly a hardline supporter of party leader Thomas Thabane.
Majoro also appointed the Likhetlane constituency legislator Lekhetho Mosito as minister of defence and national security, a portfolio that was formally held by Maliehe.
The reshuffle coming in the midst of the internecine fight within the party sparked the faction vying for Majoro’s ouster to come out and purport the party had resolved to redeploy him.
A decision that would effectively lead to the collapse of the ruling coalition by ABC and the Democratic Congress lead by Majoro as head of government.
However, Mahao said the ABC national executive committee meeting was disrupted and what members witnessed was Hlaele acting in an abusive manner towards party leader—in fashion worse than that former secretary-general Samonyane Ntsekele was accused of—by forcing Thabane to read notes that he constantly rejected.
Thabane, Mahao said ended leaning over to him to tell him that he is tired but he did not know how to respond.
Mahao said the meeting ended without any resolution having been made but to much surprise, the Hlaele faction went back into the venue of the meeting to convene.
Mahao said he suspects that it is in this meeting of the faction led by Hlaele that the decision to announce that the national executive committee had resolved to redeploy Majoro could have been made.
But, Mahao argued the Majoro led administration will withstand the storms until the 2022 general elections.
Mahao further emphasised that ABC is divided, with other members influencing ABC leader Thomas Thabane.
Mahao said this faction includes among others, the secretary-general Hlaele, Chalane Phori, and Montoeli Masoetsa.
Mahao said the party leadership is split into halve.
Mahao said he learned through Hlaele’s behavior during the meeting that he is the one who has been influencing Thabane on what to say in all the past 3 meetings of the national executive committee.
“We did not know what the leader was going to say yesterday (Monday, February 8). But I learned that maybe Hlaele is the one who writes his speech for the meetings as there Is always a group of people that meet to prepare his speech,” Mahao said.
He said the idea of redeploying Majoro was first introduced by Thabane in August last year when he (Thabane) said he has received complaints from other party leaders as well, that Majoro is not properly handling the government.
This went as far as Thabane saying Majoro should be removed from the Prime Minister position during December 29 meeting.
Speaking about the reshuffling of the cabinet, Mahao said NEC has not discussed anything pertaining to the reshuffle.
He however said that was in yesterday’s meeting’s agenda but was not touched.
“ABC NEC, therefore, has no stand on the reshuffling of the cabinet as that is yet to be discussed. Maybe it will be for or against it,” said Mahao.
For his part, Rapapa said “Out of 50 ABC Members of Parliament, 34 are for Majoro to remain the Prime Minister, while 16 is against that. 16 is a very small number”.
He also said out of 5 ABC Senators, 4 are in support of the current government, while only 1 is against it.
On Monday, Spokesperson Masoetsa following the meeting said ABC national executive committee resolved to redeploy Majoro.
“NEC came to a decision that Majoro should be redeployed; be removed from the Prime Minister position and given another job position,” he said.
Masoetsa accused Majoro of making decisions without national executive committee’s endorsement.
He said many of the decisions made by Marojo since he became Prime Minister were to the detriment of the party and its membership.
Another member of the national executive committee who spoke on condition of anonymity accused Majoro of having expelled members of the ABC in lucrative and strategic government post and replaced them with his own people that are unknown to the party while others are said to be members of other parties.
The source alleged that not only did Majoro expel ABC cadres but he went as far as hiring Dr Maluke Letete, a man the source alleged was a known DC cadre as his economic advisor.
The source alleged that the plot is thickening to replace Majoro very soon in the party with a more acquiescent candidate.
Hlaele was not available for comment when contacted.