… LCD ministers and officials sympathetic to premier Thomas Thabane to also join crusade to inform the electorate about the fallout in government
ALL Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP) and some Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) ministers and top officials will today address public gatherings in Butha-Buthe, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek to update the electorate on the country’s on-going political and security crises.
According to BNP spokesperson and coordinator of the meetings, Machesetsa Mofomobe, the decision to embark on the campaign was reached at after it emerged Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his ABC rallies, as well as those of the BNP and certain LCD officials, were not being covered by the state media.
The ABC, BNP and LCD formed a coalition government after the 26 May 2012 general election had failed to produce an outright majority winner, but the three partners have since fallen out over Dr Thabane’s alleged failure to consult his fellow leaders when making key decisions with a bearing on good governance.
LCD leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing has been very vocal about Dr Thabane’s alleged “dictatorial” tendencies, and cites the premier’s decision to unilaterally suspend Parliament for nine months on 10 June this year fearing a no-confidence vote by opposition legislators, among a host of the ABC leader’s alleged transgressions.
The main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) and some LCD members aligned to Mr Metsing have since been pressing for Parliament’s reopening but Dr Thabane has continued to resist citing lack of security, which saw him fleeing the country for South Africa on the night of 29 August 2014.
The premier says he had to seek refuge in South Africa after he had allegedly been informed of a Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) plot to kidnap him and BNP leader Thesele ‘Maseribane and make them announce their resignation over the radio.
The following day, 30 August, some LDF members attacked three Maseru police stations in a predawn raid which resulted in the death of one officer, and injury to scores of other Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) officials.
Dr Thabane has called events of that weekend an attempted coup and the premier remains under the protection of the South African police since his return home on 3 September, alongside ‘Chief ‘Maseribane and LMPS Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana.
Although the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had recommended that Dr Thabane should reopen Parliament on 19 September, the ABC leader has refused to comply, arguing the country is not safe enough for the House to reconvene.
According to Mofomobe, it is important for the nation to know why the premier is refusing to open the August House and in the absence of adequate coverage from Radio Lesotho and Lesotho Television, the public gatherings had become necessary.
“What is going to happen is that on Sunday, there will be public gatherings in Butha-Buthe, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek districts, while those that had been scheduled for Leribe and Berea districts the same day, have been postponed to October, on a day to be announced in due course,” Mr Mofomobe said.
“The Butha-Buthe meeting will be led by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Motlohi Maliehe, Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo and Development Planning Minister Moeketsi Majoro.
“In Mafeteng, the Minister of Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing Sekhulumi Ntsoale, Deputy Finance Minister Matšepo Ramakoae and Deputy Health Minister Dr Nthabiseng Makoae, will lead the meeting.
“In Mohale’s Hoek, the meeting will be hosted by Minister of Human Rights, Law and Constitutional Affairs Advocate Haae Phoofolo, Health Minister Dr Pinkie Manamolela and Labour and Employment Minister Keketso Rantšo.
“These gatherings will also be attended by Members of Parliament (MPs) and members of the ABC and BNP National Executive Committees.
“The Prime Minister has been barred from using the state media and any messages he might want to convey to the nation, have only been broadcast through privately-owned radio stations.
“We have realised that LTV and Radio Lesotho have been hijacked by the LCD and the DC. The prime minister can’t even make an official statement to the people, because of this.”
Mr Mofomobe further said members of the LCD, who are still loyal to the prime minister and the coalition government, had been included in the public gatherings.
“Since the infighting in the coalition government started, the state media has only broadcast messages from those who sympathise with the LCD and DC because the Ministry of Communications falls under the LCD.
“The state media has been turned into a mouthpiece of the LCD and DC. What we only see and hear from the state media now is propaganda from those who have hijacked these agencies.
“What is also problematic is that the prime minister, as the Minister of Defence, has no access and cannot command the LDF as it has also been hijacked by the LCD,” said Mr Mofomobe.
According to Mr Mofomobe, the LCD’s continued support of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli despite his sacking as LDF Commander by the premier on 29 August for alleged insubordination, showed the party had also hijacked the army.
Contacted yesterday for comment, Communications Minister Selibe Mochoboroane said: “The Prime Minister is still allowed access to LTV and Radio Lesotho. It is wrong to say he has been barred from accessing both.”
However, Mr Mochoboroane said he had no knowledge about the public gatherings “as cabinet meetings have since been suspended”.
“What I heard are rumours that the ABC and the BNP are going to be holding rallies together and I assume those are not government public gatherings as cabinet has never organised any such meetings. It’s a surprise that those rallies are said to be government public gatherings,” Mr Mochoboroane said.