Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, has warned if next year’s elections fail to take place, the congress movement would “simply pass a no-confidence-vote in the sitting government”.
Mr Metsing—whose party formed a coalition government with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) led by Thesele ‘Maseribane in June 2012—says there are concerted efforts to delay the February 2015 snap election to ensure the status quo continues.
Although Mr Metsing is deputy prime minister in the coalition government, he no longer sees eye-to-eye with Dr Thabane and Sports Minister ‘Maseribane, with the fallout leading to February’s poll, which comes two years earlier than anticipated.
According to Mr Metsing, the premier has not respected the consultative nature of the Coalition Agreement (CA), which formed the foundation of the tripartite government when it was formed after the 26 May 2012 election had resulted in a hung parliament.
It was this violation of the (CA) which saw Mr Metsing joining forces with the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) and other congress parties, in trying to remove Dr Thabane through a no-confidence vote in parliament in March this year. The mostly congress MPs had wanted to install DC leader, Pakalitha Mosisili, as prime minister of a new government, with Mr Metsing as his deputy.
However, in an effort to ensure stability in the country, various local and international bodies, among them the Southern African Development Community (SADC), were obliged to intervene in the crisis, resulting in the decision to cut the coalition government’s five-year tenure midterm and hold elections at the end of February 2015.
But according to Mr Metsing, the LCD was aware the ABC and BNP were trying “everything possible” to ensure the elections are not held in order for Dr Thabane to remain in power.
Mr Metsing told the LCD Youth League Elective Conference held last weekend in Maseru: “The elections which are going to be held in February 2015, were made possible through the Maseru Facilitation Declaration (MFD), which all political party leaders signed (on 2 October 2014).
“The MFD was witnessed by South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as SADC Facilitator, but we have since learnt that there are some people within the ABC and BNP claiming that the elections will not take place in February 2015.
“These people would want their leaders to prolong their stay in government through ensuring the elections are delayed or not held completely.
“We signed that agreement with a clear understanding that parliament is going to be dissolved in the first week of December, and after the dissolution, the law requires that within four days, the voting day should be announced. This is what some politicians don’t want to happen.”
However, Mr Metsing told the youth conference that if the MFD was undermined in any way, then the congress parties—LCD, DC, Basotho Congress Party, Lesotho People’s Congress and Basotho Batho Democratic Party—would form a new government in parliament.
“We agreed not to form a government in parliament but if we cannot go to elections as agreed, we will form a government in parliament. I implore you not to listen to falsehoods being spread by those claiming elections would not be held according to the agreement signed.
“Even a layman realises that if these falsehoods being spread by detractors were to come, true then there would be yet another political crisis in this country.
“We agreed not to change government in parliament because it would have resulted in chaos. However, this was the last time that we are going to make such a compromise.
“It will never happen again that when Members of Parliament (MPs) don’t have confidence in a prime minister, a change of government is not allowed and the country is forced to hold an election.”
However, ABC Secretary General, Samonyane Ntsekele dismissed Mr Metsing’s threats as “the last kicks of a dying horse”.
“What they are desperate about as congress parties is that they want to be in power together and had thought we’d allow them to hijack government in parliament. They are the ones who do not want to go to elections but want to do everything possible to hijack government in parliament. But we won’t allow them to do that; they must forget it,” Ntsekele said.
“It is also not true that the ABC is not prepared for elections. Our leader, Ntate Thabane, was the one who called for elections when we were all faced with these problems. We are definitely ready for elections and very confident that we will win the poll.”
New LCD Youth League Executive Committee
President- Tsoanelo Ramakeoana (Koro Koro); Deputy President- Motlatsi Maope (Mabote); Treasurer-Lerato Lekhela (Butha-Buthe); Secretary- Mosiuoa Moeketsi (Mosalemane); Deputy Secretary-Lisebo Taeli (Likhetlane); Chairperson- Abinyane Tsilo (Mokhotlong); Deputy Chairperson-Thabang Tsehlo (Stadium Area); Spokesperson- Theko Tlebere (Hlotse);Deputy Spokesperson-Potso Shao (Khafung)
Members: Sebabatso Liphoolo (Mohale’s Hoek); Reatile Setati (Sebapala); Malineo Molungoa (Thaba-Tseka); Mohale Phosholi (Thabana-Morena).