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DPL withdraws support for ABC, DC coalition

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE Democratic Party of Lesotho (DPL) has withdrawn its support for the three-month-old governing coalition.

The coalition, which comprises of Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC) took power on 20 May 2020. This followed the collapse of the previous government headed by ABC leader Thomas Thabane. Dr Majoro is the ABC’s Thetsane constituency legislator.

The DPL, a traditional ally of the DC, had thrown its weight behind the coalition. But in a statement on Friday, DPL leader Limpho Tau said they had withdrawn their support because the DC had failed to honour their verbal commitment to hold meetings with them. The meetings are aimed at informing the DPL of key issues in the government since the party is not represented in cabinet.

The DPL’s withdrawal is unlikely to have any impact as the party has only one seat in parliament. The ABC and DC jointly boast of 76 parliamentary seats. Seven other smaller parties also threw their weight behind the ABC-DC grand coalition with 18 seats.

The smaller parties are the Movement for Economic Change (6 seats), Basotho National Party (5 seats), Popular Front for Democracy (3 seats) and one seat each from Basotho Congress Party, Reformed Congress of Lesotho, National Independent Party and Marematlou Freedom Party.

The DPL had initially backed the coalition but barely three months after its formation, Mr Tau has opted out, saying the DC had failed them.

Apart from failing to hold meetings with them to appraise them of developments in government, Mr Tau accused the DC of failing to use its influence to stop Dr Majoro from appointing a bloated cabinet.

He also accused the government of failing to effectively support businesses to respond to the challenges wrought by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We had agreed that since we are not represented in cabinet, the DC would give us regular updates on the business of the executive,” Mr Tau said.

“The agreement was that we would meet at least every two weeks. But it has been over 100 days since they first came into power and not a single meeting has been held.”

Mr Tau said a bloated cabinet was contrary to his party’s constitution which called for a cabinet of not more than 16 members, including the prime minister and his deputy.

The DPL has since written to the speaker of parliament, Sephiri Motanyane, notifying him of its withdrawal of its support for the government.

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