Ditch coalition with DC, Phori tells Majoro, ABC MPs
- outspoken Phori says DC must be kicked out of govt for poaching ABC members with job offers
THE deputy chairperson of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), Chalane Phori, has called on Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and other ABC legislators to abandon its coalition agreement with the Democratic Congress (DC).
Mr Phori accuses the DC of using its position in government alongside the ABC to poach the latter’s members by promising them jobs.
He said such actions are contrary to the spirit of the coalition which was formed in May this year and catapulted Dr Majoro to power at the expense of ABC leader Thomas Thabane.
He said he was therefore mobilising all ABC MPs for a vote to bring down the current government when parliament reconvenes on 5 October 2020. He said Dr Majoro should not be afraid to join his cause because he will still be chosen to lead a new coalition which will exclude the DC. He did not say who else, besides the ABC, will be in the new coalition.
The outspoken Phori, who served as Small Business Development, Marketing and Cooperatives Minister in the previous Thabane regime, remains an ardent supporter of the ousted premier. Mr Thabane was forced to step down by his own party for a plethora of reasons including the fact that he and his wife, ‘Maesaiah, were named as suspects in the 14 June 2017 murder of his ex-wife, Lipolelo.
Nevertheless, Mr Phori has continued to champion Mr Thabane’s cause. He has ridiculed both new premier Moeketsi Majoro and the ABC’s NEC which is loyal to party deputy leader Nqosa Mahao.
Although he came into the NEC at the party’s elective conference in February 2019, Mr Phori has never seen eye-to-eye with most of its other members.
He was last month suspended by the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) for speaking against the decisions of the NEC in the media, thereby putting it into disrepute.
The suspension is for three months and even though it is in force, this has not stopped Mr Phori from speaking out about the party’s policy issues.
He now wants the ABC to cut ties with the DC and form a new government when parliament reconvenes next month.
However, ABC spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa insisted that the coalition would remain intact, adding that the ABC’s NEC does not take instructions from Mr Phori.
“We don’t take orders from Phori,” Mr Masoetsa told the Sunday Express this week.
“The ABC is still happy with its working arrangement with the DC. If indeed they (Phori and his allies) have the numbers to bring down the coalition, we will see if that will happen in parliament when it reconvenes.”
But in his interview with this publication, Mr Phori insisted that the DC has been visiting various constituencies across the country and it had recruited several ABC members by offering them jobs in government ministries under its control.
He said all ABC MPs including Dr Majoro had to come together to punish the DC by kicking it out of government when parliament reopened.
“The DC does not have the ABC’s interests at heart. It is on a mission to recruit ABC members on a daily basis and it is doing a good job at that. The DC did not join forces with the ABC to govern this country well but simply to have access to government resources and use them to attract our members by promising them government posts.
“Deputy premier and DC leader Mathibeli) Mokhothu calls our members to his office and offers them jobs on condition they join the DC. This shows that the DC is not in government to serve the people but to empower itself with state resources ahead of the 2022 elections. We have to fight fire with fire now.
“So, I strongly feel that it is not in the best interests of the ABC to remain in government with the DC This government must therefore be toppled.
“I will only succeed in my mission if my fellow ABC members support my mission. I am recruiting every ABC member including Dr Majoro to join my course in toppling this government because it is not in our best interests to be in a partnership with the DC. I trust that Dr Majoro will also hear us and support this course of action,” Mr Phori said.
The outspoken MP was one of ABC legislators who threatened to “expose” Dr Majoro’s own “dirty secrets” if he did not give in to their demands to stop the arrest of Mr Thabane and have the murder charges against him dropped.
Some party and government sources claim that Dr Majoro gave in to the threats and ordered the police not to arrest Mr Thabane hence why the ABC leader remains free three months after the police promised to arrest him. This has been denied by the police who insist that they are waiting on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, to give them the go-ahead before pouncing on Mr Thabane.
However, a gloating Mr Phori took credit for Mr Thabane’s freedom.
“Was Tom arrested? He has not been arrested as it had been said he would be and that is a clear sign that Dr Majoro listened to us. You can see that he listened to us. I was very clear from the onset that Tom should not be arrested and he was not arrested. I am happy with that.
“I communicated our standpoint (on the Thabane issue) to Dr Majoro through an audio clip and my message was well received because Tom was not arrested,” Mr Phori said.
However, DC secretary general Tšitso Cheba denied Mr Phori’s claims about his party, saying they were merely sour grapes because Mr Phori wanted to get back at the DC for refusing to enter into a coalition agreement which included Mr Thabane.
“There is no such thing. If there was such a thing, he would have given practical examples of specific ABC members who were hired by the DC. He (Phori) should give us names of the beneficiaries of this campaign he is referring to. He cannot do that because he knows that his allegations are baseless.
“He has never liked our partnership with the ABC and now he pretends to be fighting a new war when we know that it’s all about the fact that he has never liked this government.
“The DC made it clear from the onset that it would never form a government with the ABC if Ntate Thabane remained the prime minister. Ntate Phori has always been against us for that,” Mr Cheba said.
He said his party would not lose sleep over Mr Phori’s comments. He said if ever the ABC’s NEC was unhappy with the DC, it would register its concerns through its deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao or secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, not through Mr Phori.