THE Democratic Congress (DC) has vowed to fight the expected defection of its Semena constituency legislator Tlohelang Aumane to the AD in the courts of law “if need be” following his appointment as Development Planning minister on Friday.
DC spokesperson Serialong Qoo told the Sunday Express Mr Aumane was still a member of the party despite being appointed minister in the four-party coalition government.
He said the legislator could only sever ties with the DC by crossing the floor in the National Assembly from the opposition side to the government side.
Once that symbolic gesture was made, Mr Qoo said, the party would fight for Mr Aumane’s ouster as their legislator.
Mr Aumane successfully contested the 3 June 2017 National Assembly elections on a DC ticket, garnering 3 250 votes with the closest challenger being the All Basotho Convention (ABC) candidate with 1 606 votes, while the AD candidate had 212 votes.
“Aumane is a thief and has to answer for deceiving the voters,” charged Mr Qoo.
“He knew very well that he couldn’t have won the elections if he had contested under the AD flag. He tricked voters and has used them to his own advantage.
He added: “Aumane was misled by people who thought of him as an intellectual and have always wanted to offer him a ministerial post. “Aumane’s treachery will go down in the history books for decades to come. How can he abandon his party before parliament has even been officially opened?”
Mr Qoo said Mr Aumane’s decision to join the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane-led government was tantamount to “political suicide”.
“He is very young in his political career and ought to have learnt from other politicians’ mistakes,” he said.
“He has committed political suicide and will have to sit on the side of the government even though he is still one of our own. He clearly was not properly advised.”
Mr Qoo also asserted that Mr Aumane’s appointment had “sown a seed of discontent” in the governing coalition.
Apart from the ABC and AD, the coalition also consists of the Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).
The 3 June 2017 polls resulted in a hung parliament for the third time in as many elections, with the ABC, AD, BNP and RCL cobbling up the 63 seats they garnered to form government. The threshold for forming government is 61 seats in the 120-seat National Assembly.
On Friday, 27 ministers were sworn-in during a ceremony administered by Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara and Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi at the Royal Palace in Maseru.
“The fact that Aumane was appointed minister ahead of members of the ABC, AD, BNP and RCL has sown a seed of discontent towards him because there were some people who thought they are more deserving of the post than him, especially given that they were always loyal to their parties,” said Mr Qoo.
“Next week, we will hold a big rally in Semena that is meant to soothe the aching hearts of voters who have been aggrieved by his betrayal.”
Speculation has also been rife that DC Moyeni constituency legislator, Mahooana Rapitso, and his Mpharane counterpart, Phutuhelo Mafereka, would also defect to the AD. However, efforts to contact the duo were unsuccessful last night.
Mr Qoo himself was also rumoured to be on the verge of leaving the party. However, the DC spokesperson was unequivocal about where his loyalties lay.
“Never and never shall I, at any given point in time, leave the Congress movement for anything. I am loyal to my party and its leader and remain steadfast,” the Malingoaneng legislator said.
Mr Qoo gave a warning to would-be defectors: “They should remember why they were voted for and who voted for them. They know what other parties are capable of doing to people who do that, which is a route we don’t really want to take as true democrats.”
Contacted for comment, AD deputy spokesperson Matšana Masiphole said: “It would be quite selfish for anyone to feel aggrieved by Aumane’s appointment because he has added to the coalition government’s seats in parliament. His appointment as a minister was deserved.”
ABC spokesperson Tefo Mapesela, who is also the new Trade and Industry Minister, said: “Qoo should be busying himself with salvaging his sinking party that is losing legislators by the day. Clearly he is just bitter.”