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Thabane ‘too embarrassed’ to attend AU summit

 

Keiso Mohloboli

LESOTHO Congress for Democracy (LCD) Acting Secretary General, Tšeliso Mokhosi, says Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was “too embarrassed” to attend the just-ended African Union (AU) Summit in Ethiopia.

Dr Thabane was supposed to lead a delegation comprising Sports Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane, Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo, Law and Constitutional Affairs Minister Haee Phoofolo, Development Planning Minister Moeketsi Majoro, and Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka to Addis Ababa on Thursday for the two-day summit, which began on Friday and ended yesterday.

The Summit was attended by heads of state and government but Dr Thabane — whom Mr Mphaka had said would head Lesotho’s delegation — did not travel to Addis, with his Press Secretary, Thabo Thakalekoala simply saying the premier had not gone to Ethiopia and refusing to say why when contacted by the Sunday Express on Friday.

However, according to Mr Mokhosi, the premier had decided not to be with his peers “because he was ashamed of what he had done”.

Mr Mokhosi added: “Thabane and his ally in the coalition government, ‘Maseribane, are the ones who asked for SADC (Southern African Development Community) intervention in Lesotho, as they claimed that the country was unstable,  but surprisingly they are now saying they are unhappy with the regional body’s mediation.

“They are now saying SADC Facilitator, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, is favouring our leader, Ntate (Mothetjoa) Metsing in his mediation.

“So Thabane was too embarrassed to go to Addis Ababa because if he was going to turn around and accuse Mr Ramaphosa of bias, it would have destroyed his credibility in the eyes of the other leaders.

“That is why he could not even send Mr Metsing, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, to the summit because he would have said otherwise.”

Mr Mokhosi added it was surprising the ABC and BNP were now “afraid” of going for elections, when the parties’ leaders, Dr Thabane and Chief ‘Maseribane respectively, had “initiated” them.

Lesotho is holding early parliamentary elections on 28 February 2015 following last year’s collapse of the ABC, LCD and BNP government, which came to power in June 2012. After Mr Metsing had accused Dr Thabane of not consulting him when making key decisions with a bearing on good governance in line with their Coalition Agreement on which the government was founded, relations between the parties soured, leading to SADC mediation and the snap election.

“These people are now bringing up baseless accusations against Mr Ramaphosa. They are claiming that although he has been facilitating the elections, he has not attended to security issues, in particular tension between the army and police,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“According to these two gentlemen, Mr Ramaphosa did nothing to resolve the security crisis in the country. It is quite laughable that they no longer want an election that they called for. As the LCD, we are ready for the poll come 28 February, but it appears the ABC and BNP are now developing cold feet hence these unfounded allegations against the SADC Facilitator.”

He added: “Mr Metsing is confident in Mr Ramaphosa’s facilitation. That is why Thabane could not send him to Ethiopia because he knew he was not going to table those negative statements before the Summit.”

Meanwhile, ABC Secretary General and the premier’s Political Advisor, Samonyane Ntsekele yesterday told the Sunday Express that Dr Thabane could not attend the AU meeting while there was going to be  a “no to lawlessness” march on Friday and another “big political demo” on Sunday (today).

“It’s true that the prime minister was supposed to attend the AU Summit but since he prioritises the interests of Basotho, he decided to stay.

“However, it is a lie that Ntate Thabane no longer wants Lesotho to go for elections on 28 February. There is no way that Ntate Thabane could stand in the way of elections and ask the AU Summit to stop the process.

“To my knowledge, the LCD is the one which is so desperate to have the elections cancelled,” Mr Ntsekele said.

The LCD, Mr Ntsekele added, was taking issues of instability lightly “because they are misled that the army supports them”.

He added: “The LCD leadership is taking the instability of our country lightly and also mistakenly believes that the LDF supports them.

“Another lie from the LCD is that Dr Thabane is no longer comfortable with Mr Ramaphosa’s facilitation.

“It makes one wonder how the LCD has established this when Ntate Thabane has not said anything about this.”

 

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