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I am ready to step down: PM


mosisiliBilly Ntaote

PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili says he is ready to step down from the helm of the Democratic Congress (DC) to ensure the party remains united.

Dr Mosisili, who is prime minister by virtue of being the DC leader, said party members who want to see him go were free to call for a special conference to elect a leader of their choice.

Addressing 833 delegates representing the DC’s grassroots structures during a leadership conference held in Maseru yesterday, Dr Mosisili said he was aware factions in the party were conspiring with the opposition to forge new alliances to engineer his ouster.

The indaba, which continued until late into the evening, was held amid an escalating power struggle within the coalition government’s major party.

The infighting had resulted in two factions emerging, namely Lithope (loosely translated to girlfriends) which is linked to Dr Mosisili and Lirurubele (butterflies) linked to his deputy and Police Minister Moleleki.

Speculation has been rife Dr Mosisili might face a no-confidence vote in the coming days following the reconvening of the National Assembly on Friday. Dr Mosisili has also been linked with a mooted splinter party, United Congress Movement (UCM), although the premier has vehemently rubbished the claims.

Dr Mosisili said he was elected against his will to lead the DC after opting to make way for a successor in 2012.

“I have told you my stand point on this issue of the party leadership succession. There is no need at all for the DC to split because of me,” he said.

“Those who cannot tolerate me today have forgotten that I was elected against my own will. Those who want changes in leadership should call for a special conference to elect a leader of their choice for this party.”

Dr Mosisili, who has been Member of Parliament for the Tsoelike constituency since 1993, said he would step down from party leadership quietly if need be.

“This conference has powers to call for a special conference if need be to elect a new leader of the party. Let us be true to the ideals of this congress party in the way we conduct ourselves.

“I pledge that when I step down, I will go to Tsoelike and serve the DC from the grassroots. Let us do things peacefully and within the confines of the laws of this organisation.”

He said people who expected a no-confidence vote against him and the seven party coalition government “knew nothing” about parliamentary procedures.

Dr Mosisili said it would be difficult for the no-confidence vote to pass because it depended to a large extent on the attitude of the incumbent prime minister.

He outlined the scenarios under which a vote of no confidence against him could be moved in terms of sections 83 subsection (4) (b) and Section 87 subsection (5) (a) of the national constitution, adding both sections allowed the prime minister to either resign or to advise King Letsie III to dissolve parliament which had passed the vote of no confidence against him.

“The King’s decision to dissolve parliament is dependent on two things. When the prime minister does not resign and does not advise the King to dissolve parliament after a vote of no confidence has been passed against him, the National Assembly would be dissolved on the advice of the Council of State to the King.

“And again the dissolution could come when the prime minister advises the King to dissolve parliament. After a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, the discretion lies with the premier on what to do,” Dr Mosisili said.

He said former prime minister Thomas Thabane had dodged a vote of no confidence by using his prerogative to prorogue parliament.

Dr Mosisili also remarked that it was only after the intervention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through its point person South African President Jacob Zuma that the coalition government leaders were advised to go to elections during peace talks in Pretoria.

“So if nothing happens, the King can dissolve parliament on the advice of the Council of State, if the Prime Minister does not resign or call for elections,” he said.

He further warned legislators that they would be saddled with huge loan debts to pay off without any government bail-out if they succeeded with a vote of no confidence against him.

“When the last three parties’ coalition government dissolved parliament after being advised by SADC to call for fresh elections, government had to pay the debts of the MPs, the M500 000 loans because the decision to dissolve parliament was not made by the MPs. There was an outcry from the general public and development partners also criticised the decision.

“So it is clear that if MPs go ahead to dissolve parliament through a vote of no confidence they would have to pay those debts on their own. I am not threatening the MPs, I am just advising them,” Dr Mosisili said.

The DC leader also took a swipe at the youth league, saying they could be used to weaken and even destroy the party.

Giving examples of the (BNP) and South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), he warned that youths could be used to weaken and even destroy political parties.

He said the Basotho National Party had its glory days but was brought to its knees through the youths. Dr Mosisili said the decline in South Africa’s African National Congress started when “some people” within the party used the youths in their successful plot to oust the-then state president and party leader Thabo Mbeki.

He said afterwards, the youths turned on their bosses.

“Where is Julius Malema today? He is running his own political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters. I love the youth of this party very much, especially when they work for unity and growth of the political party,” Dr Mosisili said.


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