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Thabane threatens to fire ministers

  • says the party and govt are not havens for corrupt individuals

’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has issued a stern warning to corrupt ministers to mend their ways or risk being sacked.

Dr Thabane, who is also the leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), said this while addressing party supporters on the opening day of the ABC’s elective conference at Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru on Friday evening.

The premier said would not turn a “blind eye” to Basotho’s concerns while individuals entrusted to senior positions plundered the national coffers. He also said it was clear that some of the leaders seemed to be unaware of the policies which they were tasked to implement.

“I can’t turn a blind eye to Basotho’s concerns under our leadership,” Dr Thabane said.

“We need to implement our policies but we have noted that there are some of us who still don’t understand what our policies are all about.

“There are those who have been entrusted with senior positions in government but instead use those people powers to pursue corruption and engage in criminal activities. I appeal to you to desist from such acts as ABC is not a haven of thieves and a sanctuary for criminals. We shall deal with such corrupt individuals and stop them.

“If you are not ready to desist from these acts, then ready yourselves to go elsewhere because there is no room for you in the ABC.”

Dr Thabane also urged ministers to respect the public as they are the ones who paid their salaries.

“Honour Basotho and be committed to them and do your jobs as expected. Being a minister doesn’t in any way make you their superiors. Humble yourselves before the people,” Dr Thabane said.

He further implored the party members to overcome their differences and focus on the common party goals.

“We should have learnt by now that where people work together, there are differences but we need to have tolerance for one another and focus on the common vision.

“We need to accept that individually and in groups, our party is bigger than us, therefore we should do away with complacency and egotism and have on humility and respect for one another at all times.”

Dr Thabane also expressed gratitude to his party for guiding him whenever he seemed to have derailed.

“It hasn’t been easy for us to be where we are today as a party. It has been a bumpy ride and therefore it calls for me to express my gratitude to God and to you for your unwavering support, guidance and tolerance each time I derailed from my path.

“Being a leader calls for patience, humility and wisdom from God and it is not because I am smart that our party has made it this far. You all can attest that the journey to freedom is long and thorny. We have also had our fair share of those.

“Some ABC members went through some painful ordeals and I want to assure you that your efforts have not gone unrecognised. My heart bleeds. Your selflessness means a lot to me and my family and no words are enough to express my gratitude.”

He alluded to the fissures that have threatened to tear apart the ABC in the run up to the elective conference and pleaded with the party supporters to remain united even after the elective conference.

Last month Dr Thabane savaged Professor Nqosa Mahao, saying the latter was “just a rag” who should not be elected to deputise him in the party.

Addressing scores of party members at a rally in his Ha Abia constituency in Maseru, Dr Thabane vowed that the party’s faithful would not elect Prof Mahao to succeed him at the helm of the ruling party. He said Prof Mahao was not even a member of the ABC and challenged his backers to leave the ABC and join in a new party he alleged that Prof Mahao had started.

A day later, he apologised for the blistering attack, saying he had used “harsh words” on Prof Mahao which were “not acceptable”.

Prof Mahao was recently nominated for the deputy leader’s post in the ABC. He was however, disqualified by the party’s national executive committee (NEC) on the grounds that he had not “served at the party’s branch and constituency levels for at least 24 and 36 months” respectively as required by the party’s constitution.

The disqualification led to a bruising court challenge which ended with the Koro-Koro constituency which had nominated Prof Mahao, winning a Court of Appeal challenge to have him allowed to participate in the elections.

Prof Mahao was eventually allowed to contest on Friday after the Court of Appeal ruled against the ABC’s NEC.

Addressing delegates at the ABC’s elective conference on Friday, Dr Thabane said the differences which the party has endured in the run up to the elections should not continue after the polls.

“The journey to our elections has been a tough one and we hurt one another along the way as we struggled with our differences. However, that doesn’t translate into divisions or war.

“This should now come to an immediate stop as we hold hands towards the finishing line to serve the interests of our people. Elections should not divide us. We should ask for forgiveness from one another where we blundered. Even as leaders, we err thinking we are on the right path.

“Let’s all turn over a fresh leaf and march forward to take our country to a higher level. I am hopeful that we shall all emerge as one at the end of this journey and accept the decision of the people,” Dr Thabane said.

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