ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) women’s league president, ‘Malelaka Lehohla, is confident that despite its shortcomings, her party will win the elections “because most Basotho do not want a congress-led government”.
Ms Lehohla made the claim while speaking at the memorial service of former Prime Minister and ABC leader, Thomas Thabane’s former spokesperson, Thabo Thakalekoala.
Mr Thakalekoala died of an undisclosed illness in Johannesburg on 28 December 2021. He was buried yesterday at Lepereng Cemetery in Maseru.
In her address at Mr Thakalekoala’s memorial service on Friday, Ms Lehohla made reference to the elections that are due any time after September this year.
Her ABC party has been in power since winning the 2017 elections. For the first three years up to May 2020, the ABC led a four-party coalition which included the Basotho National Party (BNP), Alliance of Democrats (AD) and the reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).
That coalition fell by the wayside in May 2020 when Mr Thabane was forced to step down in favour of current Prime Minister and ABC deputy leader, Moeketsi Majoro.
The ABC then entered into a new coalition with Democratic Congress and several other small parties, mostly with congress leanings.
The ABC-DC coalition has remained form despite splits in the ABC which led to the formation of the Basotho Action Party (BAP) in April 2021. It has survived although the two parties have publicly clashed on several issues, most notably the National Peace and Unity Bill which seeks to provide for the establishment of a National Peace and Unity Commission with powers to pardon people accused of human rights violations provided they testify truthfully and fully disclose their crimes.
Despite their working relationship in the current government, the ABC and DC will fight each other and other parties in the forthcoming elections.
Taking a cue from DC leaders who have publicly expressed confidence that they will win the elections, Ms Lehohla took advantage of Mr Thakalekoala’s funeral service to speak about the ABC’s chances at the polls.
“Basotho are not happy and they say the ABC has disappointed them. But we trust that God shall have mercy on us and we will win because most Basotho don’t want a congress-led government.
“I am confident that the ABC will lead the next government after the elections. We would have wanted the ABC to govern alone but given its many challenges, we need to accept that this is not going to be the case. However, we will still be leading the next coalition government,” Ms Lehohla said.
She also alluded to the incessant infighting in her party, saying party officials who had love and respect for each other started fighting each other once the party came to power.
The ABC has not known peace since its February 2019 elective conference which saw the likes of former deputy leader, Nqosa Mahao, elected into the national executive committee (NEC). Professor Mahao fought a long and bitter war with Mr Thabane for control of the party. He subsequently jumped ship to form the BAP in April 2021.
His departure did not yield any peace. Of late, Mr Thabane has been locked in a power struggle with Dr Majoro. The ABC leader and his allies in the NEC voted to recall Dr Majoro on 2 December 2021 and replace him with deputy secretary general, Nkaku Kabi. However, the Dr Majoro refused to step down. Following Mr Thabane’s decision to relinquish the ABC leadership, Dr Majoro will face off with Mr Kabi, chairperson Samuel Rapapa and former secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele for the top party post. The elections will be held at the party’s special conference from 28 to 29 January 2022.
More candidates could still enter the race as the deadline for nominations and submissions of candidates’ names is 21 January 2022.