MYSTERY surrounds the authorship of the letters of expulsion which were addressed to All Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader Professor Nqosa and other members of the ruling party’s new national executive committee (NEC).
The letters, which were purportedly written by ABC leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Thursday, give Prof Mahao and others three days in which to “show cause” why they should not be expelled from the party for alleged insubordination.
Prof Mahao and his colleagues had hardly had time to soak in their Wednesday High Court victory which cleared the way for them to assume office after throwing out an application against the February 2019 by ABC legislators, Habofanoe Lehana, Keketso Sello and Mohapi Mohapinyane.
The trio filed the application seeking the nullification of the election of Prof Mahao and the rest of the new NEC on the grounds that the voting process was characterised by vote rigging. However, High Court judges, Justices Thamsanqa Nomngcongo (presiding judge), Moroke Mokhesi and Sakoane Sakoane dismissed the trio’s application, ruling that the alleged vote rigging would not have changed the outcome of the elections.
Prof Mahao contested the election against the wishes of Dr Thabane who said he was not even a member of the ABC and should not be elected to the party’s second most powerful post ahead of seasoned party stalwarts.
And as the Mahao faction were still celebrating their High Court victory, they received the “show cause” letters the next day.
The alleged insubordination stems from the disregard to Dr Thabane’s call for them to refrain from holding public rallies which they have been holding in completion with the old NEC.
Part of the letters purportedly signed by Dr Thabane state that in holding the rallies “your actions tarnished the good name of the ABC”.
“I am therefore directing you that you should give reasons, if any, why I cannot expel you from the party. I am expecting your response within three days following receipt of this letter,” Dr Thabane purportedly states in the letters that were addressed to Prof Mahao, secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa and deputy spokesperson, ’Matebatso Doti.
While Dr Thabane was not reachable for comment, there were reports quoting his spokesperson, Thabo Thakalekoala, saying that the premier could not have signed the letters to the new NEC because he was out of the country.
Mr Thakalekoala is said that the premier’s signature could have been forged and the police must investigate the matter.
Yesterday, Mr Thakalekoala told the Sunday Express that he had no mandate to speak on party issues “but if at all there is any forgery suspected on the Prime Minister’s signature, there surely will be some police investigations made to that effect”.
Prof Mahao yesterday said he had received the ‘show cause letter’. He however, said he would only decide on his next course of action in consultation with his advisors.
“As for the authenticity of the signature, it’s very hard for me to tell as the alleged writer (Dr Thabane) has never written me before this but I have heard people saying that it (signature) could have been forged,” Prof Mahao said.
Ms Doti also acknowledged receipt of the letter but added, “I am not sure if I am going to respond to it”.
“I’m still deliberating on that and I should be sure of my course of action before the end of day (yesterday),” said Ms Doti.
On the other hand, Dr Thabane’s son-in-law, Mr Hlaele said he would respond to the letter as he did not “doubt at all that the signature is his (Dr Thabane’s)”.
New chairperson Samuel Rapapa said he had not received the letter but he would tear it up upon receiving it.
“I have not received the said letter but I am warning anyone who will be sent to serve me with such a letter to refrain from doing so. I have asked (former secretary general Samonyane) Ntsekele about the letters and he said he doesn’t know anything about them.
“So I have made it clear that I will tear up such a letter if I should I be given one.”
Mr Rapapa said he was sure that the letters were signed by Dr Thabane even if he was not in the country when they were delivered.
“I know so because a driver was sent to Johannesburg to have the letters signed by Ntate Thabane as he was out of the country by the time they were signed.
“The fact that the letters were served in his absence doesn’t at all rule out that he is the one who signed them. I know exactly how he operates even if he may deny it,” said Mr Rapapa.