…DARES TO BE THE COMMITTEE THAT ABC MEMBERS VOTED IT TO BE
The newly elected but sidelined national executive committee of the governing All Basotho Convention (ABC) will come out from behind the clouds on Wednesday when it kick-starts a series of rallies to address factory workers.
“Tomorrow we will be talking to workers in the Maseru industrial Area, on Thursday we are going to Ha Thetsane and on Friday we will be in Maputsoe,” Montoeli Masoetsa, as spokesperson of the new committee, said on Tuesday.
Given the economic living conditions of the factory workers – long working hours and miserable pay – the ABC’s new executive committee’s attempt will be to provide substantial solutions to the problems facing Lesotho second largest employer.
For many years, the workers’ basic rights have seemed not to be a concern for the authorities.
Masoetsa said the new committee was invited by the workers to address them.
If these rallies eventually happen as planned, it will be the first time that this NEC publicly addresses ABC members on the platforms organized by itself in its capacity as the decision-making body of the party between conferences as it was prohibited from doing so by the High Court.
It was interdicted by the High Court from exercising its authority pending finalisation of a court case challenging the outcome of the elective conference held at Lehakoe in February.
Three Members of Parliament Keketso Sello, Mohapi Mohapinyane and Habofanoe Lehana want the court to nullify the election results and order fresh polls on the grounds that there were serious irregularities which affected the credibility of the elections.
This high court case is one thing holding up voluntary stepping down from the side of the outgoing committee which has clinched power and is still calling the shots consequently prompting a ruthless push from the incoming committee to get its rivals out.
The case was supposed to have been heard and concluded a few weeks ago but the hearing has been repeatedly postponed after the outgoing NEC, probably still hoping for an incredible political comeback after being voted out, decided to employ tactics to drag out the lawsuit.
This has created great anxiety in the party, and brought about turmoil, instability and uncertainty.
Left high and dry, the new committee then created a mask behind which to hide and used some of the party’s constituency committees to organize rallies, attended the rallies as invitees and used the gatherings to take a swipe at Thabane albeit indirectly and the outgoing executive committee which is refusing to go out of office.
But while the new NEC said these were purely constituencies’ rallies, the opposing side insisted that the new executive committee should take off its mask: “we know you are the ones organising these rallies that are meant to clash with and undermine those of the leader”, outgoing secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele said.
A rally which was held in at Ha Foso in Berea on March 17, is a good case in point.
When some of the governing ABC’s staunch conservatives were in Likhoele, Mafeteng dancing to some old songs Thabane o sebetsa le liberekane, and listening to the plaster saints like Motlohi Maliehe throw shade at Professor Nqosa Mahao, other party members were at ha Foso where Berea constituency committee had thrown a rally to end Likhoele rally.
What was supposed to be “merely a constituency rally”, the Berea rally became a well-attended busy show attracting party’s mavericks from as far as Mafeteng.
While Thabane was expected to be the main drawcard for the Likhoele rally, Mahao – new deputy leader – and the majority of the new executive committee members disregarded and ridiculed that rally and were invited to Berea as guests of honour.
And while Thabane had just cleared the small valley at Ha Ramokoatsi of a few thousands followers with his prepared dull oratory, Mahao was about to rip it up at Ha Foso.
He had the crowd howling in laughter over the course of a 10-minutes-plus long speech.
He skewed the old national executive committee that does not want to leave office.
He skewed Ntsekele.
Battle lines were drawn, raising questions about the warring factions ever coming closer together.
Berea rally served as a reminder to Thabane and the the outgoing NEC that “Prof” is going nowhere, and he will be the party’s deputy leader, if not wear the crown himself, for many, many years to come.
Deprived of the respect and limelight he is confidently expecting, Thabane has also cried foul and accused those masquerading as constituencies and holding side-by-side rallies with his, of falsely representing themselves as party’s leadership and dividing the party, in the process.
But now it seems the Halloween is over, and the new national executive committee is set to take off the mask, and daring to be the committee that ABC members voted it to be.