THE DEPUTY of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao has taken a swipe at the leadership of the party for allegedly sleeping on duty and have been outmanoeuvred by the opposition in key developments.
Prof Mahao said this at a recent Mafeteng rally for his faction citing that the party’s failure to field a candidate in the race for the Independent Electoral Commissioner posts where the opposition’s candidates dominated the contest.
His comments also confirm our sister paper, the Lesotho Times’ story early last month which said opposition parties had outwitted the ruling coalition and parachuted their loyalists for appointments into the all-powerful Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
If the opposition’s plans had not been scuttled at the last minute Fako Likoti, a Democratic Congress (DC) functionary and close advisor of former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, would already be ensconced in a new role as IEC chairman while another Mosisili associate, Mphasa Mokhochane, would be one of two commissioners with Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) member Karabo Mokobocho completing the cast.
Sources told the Lesotho Times last month that the opposition parties had stolen a march on the ABC and its other coalition partners as these remain transfixed in their internecine internal power struggles at the expense of managing serious government business. The opposition’s schemes were only unravelled at the last minute when the Council of State was served with an interim court order interdicting them from recommending these appointments to His Majesty King Letsie III.
And at a recent rally, Prof Mahao said the ABC was in a leadership crisis as the leaders were sleeping on duty failing to grow the party.
“Some political parties are pushing for the appointment of their candidates in the IEC, but your (ABC) leaders are sound asleep,” Prof Mahao said.
“This means, therefore, that the IEC that will run the next elections will predominantly be managed by the “congress” candidates.”
Prof Mahao also said instead of pushing the party’s economic and social development policy, the ABC leaders were quickly becoming part of the problem as they were ignoring the key issues that affect the people.
Prof Mahao alleged that senior members of the party, most of whom are affiliated to party leader and Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, were engaged in corrupt deals and where they steal public funds through tenders, dodgy business deals and phony government fleet tenders.
“Corruption is killing our country. The theft of public funds is killing this country and government officials are at the centre of it. There are allegations of corruption in big projects like the Ha-Marakabei to Monontša road (in Butha-Buthe). The budget for the construction of the road is said to have bulged unexpectedly.
“The simple demolition of the Queen II (Queen Elizabeth II Hospital) has now caused so much drama with the budget growing from M5 million to over M30 million because the ministers are looking to get tenders. There is corruption in the hiring of vehicles in the government fleet tender and unfortunately some of our parliamentarians are involved. Therefore, you do not see many of them here with us anymore,” Prof Mahao said.
He added that there were already allegations of corruption in the upcoming construction of the Mpilo highway extensions that involve senior government officials who are also members of the ABC.
Prof Mahao also said the high levels of corruption in the country are also responsible for the low interest shown by investors to set up operations in the country.
“Corruption is destroying the ABC and the country. The divisions in the party have shaken the country’s stability and the result has been scepticism on the part of investors who are refraining from setting up businesses in our country. This is why our economy continues to decline,” Prof Mahao said.
He added that Lesotho’s development had been stalled by governments that lacked vision and as a result, many people were now paying the price with hungry and unemployed with the youths idling on the streets with university degrees and no jobs.
“This is why as the current committee; we have employed you to call for a policy conference to discuss issues such as industrialisation policy. We are as poor as we are because we not a producing country. We import everything we consume. We even fail to manage the natural resources that we have. We export water yet even ntate Thabane himself has said that he did not know how much the country makes from the water.
“We have diamonds yet there are no locals who have an idea of how revenue is collected from their sales. Then there is the controversial wool and mohair policy that has been marred by corruption and today the farmers are crying foul,” Prof Mahao said.
For his part, ABC secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele said that party needed cleansing to get rid of those who have derailed its policies.
“There is a monster among us. We need cleansing because those we had chosen to lead us are dirty. All of us should meet and decide how to cleanse ourselves. This party is supposed to be for ordinary women, children, the old and the poor,” Mr Hlaele said.