Elsewhere in this edition, we report that All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane and his band of followers in the national executive committee (NEC) have been given the greenlight by the Constitutional Court to go ahead with their proposed meeting with all political parties represented in parliament to discuss the formation of a government of national unity (GNU).
The meeting, to discuss the formation of a GNU to replace the current Moeketsi Majoro-administration, had initially been penciled in for 15 December 2021 at the AME Hall in Maseru. It had to be aborted after two of Dr Majoro’s ABC loyalists, Keketso Lepheane and Tlali Mohapi, obtained a last-minute interim Constitutional Court order to stop it pending the finalisation of their application to permanently halt it from proceeding because it allegedly violates the constitution.
Messrs Lepheane and Mohapi have another pending constitutional application to stop Mr Thabane and the NEC from recalling Dr Majoro.
The duo had argued that the proposed GNU meeting was “treasonous” as it had been convened to oust the prime minister.
However, the constitutional bench comprising of Justices Molefi Makara, Keketso Moahloli and Fumane Khabo on Thursday issued a final judgement dismissing Messrs Lepheane and Mohapi’s bid to permanently stop the meeting. The bench ruled that their fears that the political parties would engage in treasonous conduct “lacked merit.”
But the ruling could well turn out to be a pyrrhic victory for Mr Thabane and his allies. This after the presiding judge Makara warned them against any treasonous conduct at the GNU meeting. He did not clearly articulate what would amount to treasonous behaviour at the meeting, save to say that the security forces would immediately descend on the parties if they ever engaged in such conduct.
But even if they were to remove Dr Majoro, we doubt that this will address the country’s longstanding challenges of instability and poor service delivery.
How will all the parties- the 13 of them- work together without bickering over positions as our politicians are wont to do?
If anything, the so-called GNU will just be another coalition by another name.
We are inclined to agree with the Democratic Congress (DC) and the Basotho Action Party (BAP) who have both come out publicly against the GNU.
DC deputy leader and Home Affairs Minister, Motlalentoa Letsosa, on Wednesday said his party “has always been opposed to a GNU because we don’t see how it will benefit the country and its people”.
BAP leader, Nqosa Mahao, told a Wednesday press conference that a GNU was not in the best interests of the nation. He said it was a ploy by an ABC faction to lure all political parties into its fold to help it win its internal fight with its rivals for control of the party.
Prof Mahao should know because he was ABC deputy leader from 2019 until April this year when he jumped ship to form the BAP. He cited a plot by Messrs Thabane, Hlaele and Dr Majoro to oust him from the party. It is therefore understandable that he would prefer to watch his erstwhile rivals tear each other apart than help them resolve their power struggles.
What new light has suddenly dawned on the ABC to push for the very GNU they previously opposed in 2020 when they excluded the likes of the Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) and Alliance of Democrats (AD). The AD begged to be part of government but the ABC’s NEC would not have any of it. What has changed now?
Most likely, the real issue is that the ABC wants to use other political parties to resolve its own internal contradictions. The GNU is not the answer for the country. Nor is it the panacea to the ABC’s problems. If they are serious about addressing them, they should ask Mr Thabane to step down and hand over to a much younger person. In the meantime, the party should allow Dr Majoro to finish his term.