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Gospel choir marks Ascension Day and PM’s birthday in style

Keiso Mohloboli

The Balopolloa Ba Morena Gospel Choir was at State House last Thursday to commemorate Ascension Day with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, and also wish him a happy birthday.

Dr Thabane celebrated his 75th anniversary on 28 May, and Balopolloa Ba Morena decided to pay him a visit the following day — on Ascension Day — to jointly celebrate his birthday and Jesus Christ’s ascent to heaven, 40 days after his resurrection, as proclaimed by the Christian faith.

Thursday’s visit, which started around 9am and ended at 3pm, was filled with prayers, music, reading of the bible and celebration of the prime minister’s life.

Members of Dr Thabane’s political party, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), his friends and family also joined the celebration, making it a truly remarkable, holy and joyous experience that momentarily transformed State House into a church.
Balopolloa Ba Morena Gospel Choir conductor and founder, Reverend Ben Mosala, popularly known as “Reverendo”, dubbed the tributes to Dr Thabane as the “Golden days and a celebration of life”.

He said: “We believe Dr Thabane’s schedule, as prime minister, is so busy that he does not have time to go to church; that is why we decided to bring the church to his residence here at State House.
“The prime minister is faced with so many challenges in his journey that he only has to lean on the Lord to overcome them.”
Reverend Mosala also advised the prime minister to follow in the footsteps of Balopolloa Ba Morena because “young as it is, it is a coalition of youths from different churches”.

According to Reverend Mosala, unity, respect and understanding can make the prime minister’s tripartite government stronger.
Dr Thabane’s ABC formed a coalition government with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) after the 26 May 2012 general election failed to produce an outright majority winner.
“As Balopolloa Ba Morena Gospel Choir, we are loyal to our motion, ‘Re e etsa fela’ , which means we are doing whatever we do without any fear because we have God on our side,” said Rev Mosala.

Other reverends in the choir from different churches, in their speeches, urged Dr Thabane to be strong and “soldier on” in order to “deliver” Lesotho from the current tension between the army and police, and the unease brought about by a no-confidence motion opposition parties in parliament intend to move against government.

Only through God, they said, could Lesotho “return to the peace that Basotho are used to”.
Tension between the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) has been rising since April when the army ignored a request by the police to release eight soldiers needed to help with investigations into the simultaneous bombings of three Maseru homes on 27 January this year.

The attacks were on the homes of Police Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana in Tšieng Ha-Abia, and Dr Thabane’s partner, Liabiloe Ramoholi, and her
neighbour ‘Mamoletsane Moletsane in Moshoeshoe II.

As part of investigations into the attacks, Commissioner Tšooana on 14 April wrote to LDF Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli requesting the release of the eight soldiers the police needed for questioning.

However, the LDF has refused to release the said army personnel, leaving the police frustrated, hence the said tension.
On the other hand, opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have been pushing to pass a vote-of-no-confidence in the government for alleged incompetence.
“We cannot pretend that there is no tension in the country; some MPs joined hands in an effort to pass a motion of no-confidence in the prime minister and of late, there has been tension between the police and the army.
“You should seek strength from God for assistance to resolve these issues and bring back stability.
“You should be like Solomon from the Bible, who asked God for wisdom to become a great leader,” the reverends said in their sermons.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, who is also the ABC chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe thanked the choir for the “reviving” church service and declared himself one of the members of Balopolloa Ba Morena “from now on”.
Wishing Dr Thabane a happy birthday, Mr Maliehe said Lesotho was lucky to have him as its leader “because he is brave and not greedy or selfish”.
“He has never been found guilty of stealing from any government since he became minister as far back as the time of Leabua Jonathan’s government (Chief Jonathan was in power from 7 July 1965 to 20 January 1986).”
In his address, Dr Thabane said it was refreshing to realise there are young Basotho who still believe in God.
“Mosala is a true leader and what he preaches is mature for his age.
“You are very young, my boy, but your leadership makes me wonder where you get the courage and wisdom from.
“Keep up the good work and this spirit within the choir; you should not surprise us by changing your good behaviour into something sinister. Young pastors have come and gone; you should not follow the same path,” Dr Thabane said.

The premier added he was going “to practise what you have preached to me today, and I am going to mark this year’s Ascension Day and my birthday by framing one of the photos you have brought me and put it up on the wall in the State House’s Conference Hall.”
Meanwhile, Thursday’s service was followed by the cutting of Dr Thabane’s birthday cake and refreshments.


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