ALL Basotho Convention party secretary-general Macaefa Billy’s fate is hanging in thebalance.
On April 23 the Court of Appeal is set to decide whether the High Court had erred last year when it acquitted him of sedition and subversion charges that related to a political speech he gave in 2007 after the general elections.
The crown argues that the speech was seditious and constituted an attempt to incite people to topple the government.
The defence however says the speech had been interpreted out of context.
This week we carry the full text of the speech that got Billy into trouble:
I AM sure some of you were wondering as to why I did not speak to you immediately when we came from the elections.
The main reason is that in our coalition with Kobo-tata and the Workers’ Party, when we have visitors, I always consider it that it suffices for the leader of the coalition, Ntate Tom, to speak alone.
May I remind you that when I fight, it is not so much that I fight for parliamentary seats.
In fact I would like to put the record straight, because I have had some people quote me from the parliament that it is as though we have been cheated as regards the seats by Kobo-tata.
I would like to make this clear here and now that we the Workers’ Party, our aim and intention with Kobo-tata is not the seats.
Our aim and intention is to remove that person who has become a stumbling block.
If we can manage to remove that person from Qacha, that is all I want.
My masters, I want to give you an assurance, if I had an opportunity of making an address after the election, on the very day that the leader addressed you at Ha-Mopapa; if I had spoken on that day…
Let me remind you that his responsibility as a leader and further tell you that we who usually talk about these matters, they say we are delaying; this will make them cool down.
I would like to tell you friends, that today I share the same sentiments with you.
But, don’t put the leader in a fix. Don’t put him in a fix.
The main responsibility of the leader is to teach you, to restrain you.
After having done what? After you have caused damage!
I assure you, friends, that there is never going to be a day when Ntate Tom will stand here to say you should do this.
His is to be heeded when he restrains you. Once he says “stop”, you stop.
Should I tell you the affairs of this country?
The affairs of this country can’t be solved around a table.
As for these discussions, let me tell you, I Billy stand here with certainty, I don’t see any head-way.
That notwithstanding, let us respect our leader and let him go to those discussions.
If after this thing called Sadc Troika’ which thing I don’t know, there is no solution, comrades, I tell you that we shall call on a meeting that will give us the way forward.
We are not going to waste time.
I want to tell this my fellow NSS members who are present here that it is no secret that I together with others, I know they are many here, this man from Qacha looks down on us as though he is the only man.
I hate a man who, when talking to other men, says he spans a bull while it is bellowing.
I think it is because we don’t want to talk about the affairs of this country. If we were to rewind a little, things are much better, he should have long been toppled.
You can go around the whole of Lesotho right now.
Yesterday I was at my home, Matelile.
Matelile people ask how they did not succeed!
The whole nation is upset.
You can go round the whole country of Lesotho, Right now people are wondering what is happening because the elections went well.
I mean you know that the elections were conducted fairly.
Mr Thabane, that thing I spoke about these computers!
As for this faxing! Goodness me! Things change.
These children who are returning officer are bribed to change our election results.
My fellow people, I say it is well that we still listen to our leader, but I would say, as for the stayaway, I thank you who participated.
We did well. For that matter it was successful.
My plea is that there will be no other stayaway.
There is going to be one thing only, that is after these Sadc discussions which I trust Ntate Tom to ably handle.
I don’t want to get to that. I can turn those discussion tables up-side-down.
He, as the Leader can go to those discussions.
If they out-vote him, because they know how to negotiate those things, we, Billy and others, should be told that they have hit a rock.
But we are not going to stage a stayaway this time, we will “announce” in our next meeting what the way-forward is. We are not going to have a man that we have expelled from Maseru turning back along the way.
My fellow-people, I don’t want to derail the purpose of today’s occasion, I want to believe that it is to introduce to Makhaleng community what Kobo-tata is. They should know that it is all-encompassing, the tame, the belligerent, the normal, the spiritisists, the recently traditionally circumcised young men, we are here, the workers as well. We would like you our fellow people at Makhaleng to agree with us on one thing and that is here in Maseru, as you reside in Maseru district, the aim is that where you see a bird, you chase it away. When you see two or three birds, consider them dangerous, put them out of sight.
As Maseru people we say we will chase this person away to return to Qacha, he has failed in administration, we don’t want to see him being elected by means of those computers. I am sure you are witnesses that after the elections, these commissioners of the IEC ran all over spending millions of maloti for a short vacation. They toured. My fellow people, I assure you, please remember what the responsibility of the Leader is. If you were to watch television, not necessarily going to those places, you would notice that in Africa as well as in Europe, you will see people running in towns, young and old, sweating, getting rid of a person who has become a stumbling block.
I am saying this time we will not go for a stay-away. He who has ears should hear properly. We are not going to beat about the bush. We will lawfully go there with our matter, seeking one thing, that is Mosisili should go, we are not going to waste time.
Mr Thabane, go and talk to those your Troika people, talk in any manner you chose and then tell us the result. They should know that I purposely speak before they come that if they are not going to take you seriously but look at Mosisili, we stand ready for command.
This transcription and the translation hereof I consider true and fair.