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Thotanyana defects to ABC

Limpho Sello

FORMER Mining Minister Lebohang Thotanyana, who recently cut ties with the opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), has joined the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Although he was officially unveiled at the recent ABC rally organised by the Peka Constituency Committee which sympathises with the Professor Nqosa Mahao-led faction of the ABC, the veteran football administrator and former LCD legislator claimed to be above partisan politics and was keen on fostering unity in the fractious ruling party.

He was unveiled as an ABC member along with 50 other LCD members.

A fortnight ago, Mr Thotanyana told the Sunday Express’ sister Lesotho Times publication that he had decided to part ways with the LCD after the party’s persistent failure to elect a new national executive committee (NEC) in line with its constitution and democratic practices. The LCD should have held its elective conference in February this year.

Mr Thotanyana also expressed his unhappiness with Mr Metsing’s call for a government of national unity (GNU), saying such an arrangement would only serve the LCD leaders’ interests and not its rank and file members.

“I have left the party,” Mr Thotanyana said.

“When an individual joins a political party, he or she would have interrogated the party’s ideology and constitution. If the individual is happy with the two, they proceed to join that party because the ideology and constitution unify party members.

“But once the party shifts away from its ideology and constitution, it will be clear that the individual is now in the wrong place because a carpet has been pulled from under his feet and therefore he has to look elsewhere for a new political home.

“So I saw a shift from the LCD’s ideology and a shift from what I believed in and that is why I decided to leave the party,” said Mr Thotanyana. He added that after leaving the LCD, he was approached by “four big political parties to join them” but he turned them down as he still had not made up his mind about his next move. He was however, spotted at a rally that Prof Mahao’s camp held in Thaba-Bosiu a fortnight ago.

It was at last weekend’s rally in Peka, Leribe where he was finally officially unveiled as a member of the ABC.

Mr Thotanyana joins the ABC at a time when the ruling party is riven by a serious power struggle pitting the leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane against his deputy Prof Mahao. The infighting threatens to split the party and collapse the government.

All of this does not appear to bother Mr Thotanyana who recently told the Sunday Express that he chose to join the ABC because its policies, ideology and values resonated with his own.

He said he was not after influential positions or perks but working with people who were dedicated to advancing the cause of democracy. He said this was why he chose to work with the Mahao camp even though he did not believe in or endorse factionalism.

“Questions may arise that I have moved from worse to the worst (because of the ABC infighting) but I’m not a factionalist. Maybe I could have joined the other side with more comfort and be holding a special position but I chose democracy because it’s a value I have confidence in. People will see that I believe in democracy because I have gone with the people who believe in democracy. I hope you are aware how the courts ruled on who the legally appointed ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) are although I won’t discuss that issue further.”

On 12 June 2019, the High Court ruled that the Mahao faction were the legitimate NEC of the ABC.

Mr Thotanyana further said although there were factions in the ABC, he had however, “joined the party not a faction”.

“I need to emphasise that I did not join the ABC to topple any one. I’m here because I looked at their policies, ideology and values and I decided to join because they are in alignment with the things I believe in.

“Right now, what I preach is unity of the party,” Mr Thotanyana said.

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