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Majoro govt safe: Rapapa

  • you don’t have the numbers to topple premier, ABC chair tells disgruntled party MPs

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) chairperson and Mosalemane constituency legislator, Samuel Rapapa, says fellow disgruntled ABC MPs and their allies do not have the numbers to topple Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro when parliament reopens tomorrow.

Mr Rapapa, who is the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs minister, said this in an interview with a local radio station this week. He spoke ahead of tomorrow’s reopening of parliament. The august house has been on a lengthy winter break since 26 June 2020.

His remarks follow calls by the Qoaling legislator and suspended ABC deputy chairperson, Chalane Phori, to fellow party MPs to join him in his quest to withdraw from its coalition with the Mathibeli Mokhothu-led Democratic Congress (DC).

A fortnight ago Mr Phori called on Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and other ABC MPs to abandon the coalition and form a new government with other parties or on its own. He accused the DC of using its position in government alongside the ABC to destabilise the ABC by poaching its members.

He said the DC had enticed ABC members to join it by promising them jobs in the government ministries under its control.

He said such actions were 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 who had ruled the country from 2017.

He said he was therefore mobilising all ABC MPs for a vote to bring down the current government when parliament reconvenes tomorrow. 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.

Apart from Mr Phori’s machinations, there have also been reports of other disgruntled legislators plotting to oust the five-month-old government.

Mr Thabane’s wife, ‘Maesaiah Thabane, is said to be mobilising legislators from different political parties to support a no confidence motion against Dr Majoro when parliament re-opens tomorrow.

She has also been traversing the country meeting with all and sundry and making donations to drum up support for her plans.

A month ago, AD spokesperson Thuso Litjobo confirmed that his party was indeed in talks with the ABC to push a no confidence vote whenever parliament reconvenes on 5 October 2020.

Mr Litjobo expressed confidence that the vote will succeed as they had “the numbers including some ABC ministers in the current government”.

But in his radio interview this week, Mr Rapapa said all the efforts to oust the government would come to naught because the dissenting ABC members would not get the 61 votes they need to succeed.

“They (disgruntled ABC MPs) would need 61 votes for a successful vote of no confidence in parliament,” Mr Rapapa said.

“I don’t believe that they have enough numbers. They have talked about having support but they would have to work a miracle to poach the government MPs to support them.”

Mr Rapapa was the ABC’s national executive committee’s choice for prime minister when the party tabled a no confidence motion against then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in June 2019.

The motion was initially rejected by the speaker of the National Assembly speaker, Sephiri Motanyane, on the grounds that Mr Rapapa was not a leader of a political party. Mr Motanyane also ruled that only a member of the opposition.

The ABC had vowed to challenge Mr Motanyane’s decision but the motion was eventually overtaken by events as Mr Thabane was forced to step down by the ABC’s NEC and MPs in favour of Dr Majoro in May this year.

Dr Majoro beat Mr Rapapa by 206 votes to 18 to clinch the party’s nomination for the top post a month before Mr Thabane stepped down.

The ABC chair accepted his defeat and pledged his support for Dr Majoro. He was later rewarded with the ministerial post when Dr Majoro announced his cabinet shortly after assuming the reins.

It remains to be seen whether any of these attempts to topple Dr Majoro will succeed. The prime minister ascended to the premiership with a huge majority, anchored by his main coalition partner, the DC. The two parties jointly have 76 seats including those of the disgruntled ABC MPs.

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