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ABC boss’ fate to be sealed tomorrow

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Staff Reporter

MASERU — The working committee of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party is expected to tomorrow decide the fate of secretary general, Senator Futho Hoohlo, who is among other things accused of disrespecting party leadership and violating the party’s constitution. Hoohlo, 41, was last week hauled before the party’s disciplinary committee at the party’s headquarters after he allegedly “overstepped the mark”, according to party sources.

Highly placed sources who spoke to this paper said Hoohlo got into trouble after he allegedly tried to fire the office administrative staff without first consulting with the party’s powerful working committee as directed by the ABC constitution.
According to the sources Hoohlo is also facing charges of insubordination for disrespecting senior party leaders. “The committee is expected to sit on Monday to discuss his fate. The decisions it makes are immediate. There are three possibilities.

“He might be expelled, suspended or given a harsh warning,” the source said. “But as things stand, the leadership is not happy with the state of affairs in the party. “The office is not functioning well because Hoohlo is not doing any work until a decision has been reached.” Staff members at the centre of the dispute include administrative secretary ’Malehloka Ralitapole who has been working for the ABC for just over six years.

The working committee is expected to submit its recommendations to the executive committee, after which the executive will be expected to implement the recommendation. Hoohlo’s case was first discussed in the meeting of the executive committee but was swiftly referred to the working committee, after it was decided that the NEC did not have jurisdiction to preside over it. The ABC working committee comprises party leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, chairman and minister in the prime minister’s office Molobeli Soulo, Thabane’s political adviser at government level Bereng Sekhonyana and Thabo Thakalekoala, the ABC’s publicity secretary and Thabane’s press secretary at government level.

Sources told this paper that the decision to hand over the matter to the working committee could seal Hoohlo’s fate as he does not “enjoy the support of the committee members”. But, referring the matter to the national working committee, one source said, could spell the end for Hoohlo because “rarely do decisions of the working committee get overturned”.
Besides, a source added, apart from telling Soulo off when he asked him why he was interfering with staff thus outraging the ABC chairman, Hoohlo is also said to have irked Thabane by refusing to resign from the Senate to make way for Development Planning Minister Moeketsi Majoro.

“Ntate Thabane was not in the least happy when Hoohlo refused to resign. “He was being given an offer to represent Lesotho in one of the foreign missions abroad but he flatly refused,” the source said. “Although Ntate Tom was already dissatisfied with his conduct on other issues, the refusal to resign from the Senate, coupled with his recent behavior does not put him in good stead.”

Matters allegedly came to a head about a month ago after Hoohlo began using abusive language towards administrative staff telling them that he “does not want to work with them anymore”. He allegedly told staff members that they were incompetent and that he could execute all their duties single-handedly. Hoohlo is also alleged to have changed locks to the doors and desk drawers of the party’s headquarters situated at the Carlton Centre last week, while Thabane and Soulo were in Japan attending an international business conference.

And when the shocked staff members reported the matter to Soulo, the source alleged, Hoohlo was disrespectful and “told Ntate Soulo where to get off”. About a week before Hoohlo harassed the administrative staff at the ABC headquarters, he had expressed his concerns to Thabane, who told the former that he should stay away from the party office until the executive committee had convened to discuss his grievances.

But, a source who was part of the heated meeting, told this paper that a calm but seemingly furious Thabane asked Hoohlo why he had decided not to heed his instruction not to hinder staff activities until the NEC had met “a question to which Hoohlo failed to respond”.

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