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. . . as party gets ready for November election

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — The All Basotho Convention (ABC) women’s league will elect a new committee on November 10 and 11 with disgruntled members vowing to oust members who were appointed government ministers for “neglecting their duties”.
The second elective conference of the ABC women’s league will take place at ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre.
Sources within the party said the elections come amid widespread discontent within the women’s wing following the appointment of two key leaders into the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
They said the appointment of women’s league president, ’Mamahele Radebe, and Dr Pinky Manamolele as tourism and health ministers, had robbed the league of direction and guidance as they were now too busy with government business.
This, they said, had created a “gap between them and the grassroots”.
“Since becoming ministers, it’s like there’s suddenly this gap that divides us even though we walked together throughout the political hardships of the past,” the source said.
The source added that since assuming ministerial posts, Manamolele and Radebe had not yet reported back to the league on the progress made by the coalition government “thus leaving us in the dark as to what is going in government”.
“What they should have done was organise a special conference to put us up to speed as well as express gratitude because we put them where they are today,” she added.
’Mamandla ’Musa, the women’s league spokesperson, is now expected to challenge Radebe for the women’s league presidency.
When contacted for comment on Friday, ’Musa confirmed there was strife in the ABC women’s league but attributed the noticeable absence of other committee members “to government commitments”.
“It’s true that members of the current committee are cabinet ministers and can therefore not split their time between government and party commitments,” ’Musa said.
“They are busy yes, but this is being blown out of context. It’s only that they are overworked and can’t put much effort to party duties. It’s far from the truth that they have neglected the women’s league.”
’Musa said the main gripe of the league members was failure by these cabinet members “to report back to us”.
“The noise that you have referred to is due to the fact that our committee members who are also ministers have not reported back to the women’s league since making it into cabinet on the progress made after the elections,” ’Musa said.
“After these women became ministers, there’s suddenly this visible gap. You can sum it by saying the connection is lost.”
Radebe however dismissed the complaints as petty and “without any substance”.
According to Radebe, it was pure madness that she had abandoned the women’s league but added that “it’s true I’m tied up”.
“But that doesn’t mean that I don’t play my role as president. The women who complain are the very people to whom I issue instructions,” Radebe said.
“For them to say that I’ve abandoned the committee is wrong because we’ve recently been appointed to cabinet and are still familiarising ourselves with our new environment.”
The ABC women’s leader added that taking over a ministry that was under a different government for 15 years was no child’s play and “it’s also time consuming”.
“You get there and there’s just so much work staring you in the face.
“But I always call these women to my office to issue instructions as to what needs to be done,” Radebe said.

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