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Metsing should leave me alone – ‘Maseribane

Bongiwe Zihlangu

SPORTS Minister and Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Thesele ‘Maseribane, has accused Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Mothetjoa Metsing of engaging in a campaign to sully his reputation, laying the blame for the political instability in the country on the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader.

The LCD, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Chief ‘Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP) formed a coalition government after the 26 May 2012 general election had resulted in a hung parliament. However, the trio has since fallen out with Mr Metsing openly criticising Dr Thabane’s alleged dictatorial tendencies and the premier’s unilateral decision to suspend parliament for nine months on 10 June 2014 to avoid a no-confidence vote. Thereafter, the coalition government fell apart, prompting the intervention of the Southern African Development Community, among other mediators.

Speaking with the Sunday Express this past Friday, a visibly irate Chief ‘Maseribane, slated Mr Metsing  for besmirching his name by “blaming me for the bad decisions he has made” and “making me out to be the bad guy in the coalition government”.

He said the DPM is going around saying if it was not for BNP leader, the coalition government would still be running smoothly.

“Can you believe the guy (Mr Metsing) is saying if it wasn’t for me, relations between him and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, would still be going smoothly?” Chief ‘Maseribane queried.

“He’s trying to put it all on me, whereas in actual fact he’s the one who made the bad decisions which resulted in the current political turmoil.”

Chief ‘Maseribane charged that were it not for Mr Metsing’s “intolerance and impatience”,  as well as the “hard-line stance” of pushing for the demise of the coalition government after alleging he was not being consulted, Lesotho would not be preparing for a snap election.

“Metsing made a fuss about not being consulted by the prime minister in decision-making and decided to pull out of the coalition government as a result,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

“But today he’s shifting the blame and making me part of the reason he left the coalition government. He now says I’m the troublemaker, yet his major reason for breaking away from us was alleged non-consultation.”

“He says if it wasn’t for me, things would still be alright between him and Tom (Dr Thabane). Does this now mean I am against consultation? His reasons for dropping us are on record. I don’t want to be dragged into the mud!”

According to Chief ‘Maseribane, so paranoid was Mr Metsing during the coalition government, he demanded consultation on even the most minute and private details, adding that “he even wanted us to consult him when we go to the loo to relieve ourselves”.

Lesotho’s first coalition government, which has since collapsed in grand style, with a brought forward general election projected for February 2015, was formed after the 2012 poll produced a hung parliament with no conclusive winner, effectively ending former premier Pakalitha Mosisili’s 15-year tenure.

Due to Mr Metsing’s “selfishness and controlling tendencies”, went on the BNP leader, the DPM had demanded that Dr Thabane reverse decisions he made, including the dismissal of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

“I am not the one who opposed Kamoli’s expulsion, but Metsing did, on grounds that he was not consulted by the premier when the decision was made,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

“I am also not the one who threatened to pull out of the coalition government, when there was a dispute over a component of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), which the PM wanted to move to his office.”

“I am actually the one who intervened and got Metsing to hold his horses by engaging him and restoring peace and calm in the coalition government.”

He also accused Mr Metsing of blocking the interrogation of eight soldiers in connection with the simultaneous bombing of three Maseru homes on the night of 27 January 2014.

“Metsing blocked the interview of eight members of the LDF, by the police over the bomb attacks on the homes of ‘M’e Liabiloe Ramoholi and Commissioner of Police Khothatso Tšooana,” he said.

“I, Thesele, did not block the call for them to report themselves for interviews over the attacks, but Metsing did.”

Furthermore, Chief ‘Maseribane said when the military attacked police stations at the end of August, he was not the one who demanded dockets of cases of fraud and corruption instituted against the DPM.

“I have been good to Metsing, always advising him to steer clear of actions or behaviour with the potential to result in bloodshed. But he did not heed my advice.

“I remember telling him there was a lot happening around him, and that he should go on leave with his family to cool down and rethink some things. But he did not listen, yet again,” he said.

Mr Metsing should not delude himself, Chief ‘Maseribane said, into believing the perception he wanted to create that the BNP leader was a troublemaker since it would “never succeed”.

“I appeal for him to leave me alone because I am not interested in his life. If he persists on this path, soon the gloves will be off,” charged Chief ‘Maseribane.

“But I must mention here and now, that I don’t want us to find ourselves in a boxing ring. Not now and certainly not ever.”

The Sports minister said due to the inconvenience caused by the reallocation of funds owing to the election, his ministry had to do without the M5 million meant for the construction of five vocational schools.

“I am very angry right now. I am hired by politics, which means that I am being measured by my performance. This is not fair. There’s nothing more painful than a budget cut,” the BNP leader said.

He also urged the public to have a rethink on the calibre of leaders “deserving to hold power”.

“We need to face reality. Basotho need to tell us what should be done with individuals who, when given governmental power, do nothing but drag the country into trouble. In my view, such people should be done away with,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

The BNP leader further slammed Mr Metsing for being ungrateful since he and Dr Thabane were “always there to protect him when the chips were down and he was being attacked from all corners”.

“I remember one time when he invited me to his office, during Mosisili’s government; how he poured his out to me about the injustices he suffered,” said ‘Chief ‘Maseribane.

“Tom asked me to embrace him because, like us, he was also fighting Mosisili. So we held hands, protected him and fought together.”

Asked if he had confronted Mr Metsing, in an attempt to make amends, the BNP leader said he did not want to be in “that space with Metsing”.

“If I were to allow myself to do so, I’d probably not leave without bruises on my face,” he said.

“Metsing does not know me or my character, therefore he can’t go around claiming I’m troublesome.

“That’s why I’m asking him kindly to desist from spoiling my name. This is the approach I choose to adopt; he should not push me to get into the ring with him.”

Contacted to comment on Chief ‘Maseribane’s utterances, Mr Metsing, told the Sunday Express he first needs to read the story “before I can issue a comment”.

“I first need to see what Ntate ‘Maseribane is saying before I can issue a response. I hope that I will also be afforded ample opportunity to give my side of the story,” Mr Metsing said.

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