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ABC MP cries foul

…accuses NEC of playing “dirty politics”

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator for Thaba-Bosiu, Thabo Sofonia, has accused the party’s national executive committee (NEC) of “playing dirty politics” by deliberately omitting his name from the list of nominees to contest the post of secretary next month.

The ABC secretary’s post is different from that of the party’s secretary general in that the former is responsible for taking minutes at NEC meetings while the latter is in charge of the overall administration of the party.

The ABC list for the post of secretary released by the ABC has Likhapa Masupha, Victoria Qheku, Nthabiseng Solouoe, ‘Mapaseka Khesa as the nominees for the post of secretary.

Mr Sofonia said the NEC deliberately left out his name from the list it recently released even though he had been nominated for the party secretary’s post. He alleged that the omission was done to ensure that the electorate would remain unaware of his candidature until it was too late for him to make any meaningful impact in the polls.

Mr Sofonia made the allegations at a recent rally in Ha Makhalanyane in the Koro-Koro constituency.

The run up to the ABC’s elective conference scheduled for 1 and 2 February 2019 has been riddled with serious infighting pitting the NEC and the Koro-Koro constituency committee over the disqualification of the constituency’s preferred candidate for the deputy leader post, Professor Nqosa Mahao.

Prof Mahao, who is also the Vice chancellor of the National University of Lesotho (NUL), was disqualified because he does not meet the criteria stipulated in the party’s constitution which requires prospective candidates for high profile posts to have “served at the party’s branch and constituency levels for at least 24 and 36 months” respectively.

The constituency committee was also recently suspended over its support for Professor Mahao prompting it to launch a legal challenge in the High Court.

Mr Sofonia, who has thrown his weight behind Prof Mahao, said the NEC deliberately neglected to announce include him on the list of candidates for the upcoming elections.

He alleged that the NEC had its preferred candidates who it wanted to have an unfair advantage over him.

“I was shocked that my name was not on the nomination list that was circulated and when I approached the office for answers, I was told that my name would be in the next circular,” Mr Sofonia said.

“This is not a valid reason. The logic behind this is that there are certain candidates who are put on the front line so that the electorate remains unaware of all the others whom they may want to vote for until it is too late.

“All candidates must get an equal opportunity to campaign instead of having our hands tied at the back. If there are some genuine problems, we should just be left alone to do our own campaigning. We should be allowed to take our own chances and lose at the conference like everyone else.”

He further pleaded with his fellow party members not to lose focus and urged them to unite so that they do not “trouble” party leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

“We earnestly pray that these issues be handled with great care for the stability and growth of the party. We pray that this election storm does not divide us. Let’s all pray that those who are in charge of this party protect it and its leader as it is the one which leads the government.

“This is not the time to be troubling or hurting our leader in his old age. Let us therefore pray that the NEC will be cautious when dealing with party issues. We don’t even need to be angry with one another. All we have to do is to keep calm.

“We have no intention of ousting the leader but instead we have every intention of supporting him. It is therefore unnecessary to be bad mouthing one another and perceiving others as threats. Let’s all remember that after the elections have passed, we will still be ABC followers and will need one another,” Mr Sofonia said.

Mr Sofonia said he had laboured to make a name for the ABC and was not hell bent on bringing it into disrepute.

“Some of us have worked hard to recruit members to this party and are not going to destroy it anytime soon. To those who are in the NEC, you are only there because we voted for you and when you are a minister it’s because we got more votes in the elections and formed a government.”

Mr Sofonia appealed to ABC members to accept the ruling of the courts in the matter between the Koro-Koro constituency and the NEC.

“Let’s all accept the interpretation of the law by the courts and accept its outcome.”

Contacted for comment ABC Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele said the party spokesperson, Tefo Mapesela, was better placed to comment on Mr Sofonia’s issue.

“I don’t want to be involved, rather talk to Mr Mapesela,” Mr Ntsekele said.

On his part, Mr Mapesela said Mr Sofonia’s case was not unique and would soon be rectified.

“His name is not an exception as there are other names which are on the list yet they didn’t have to be and there are others which were omitted but the committee is yet to release the final list sometime this coming week,” Mr Mapesela said.


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