By Staff Writers
As the All Basotho Convention (ABC) faction opposed to its leader Thomas Thabane and opposition parties’ joint press conference got under way today, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing was nowhere to be seen.
Popular Front for Democracy (PFD)’s leader Lekhetho Rakuoane was also absent but PFD was represented by the party’s deputy leader Thabang Kholumo.
The joint press conference saw a lively discussion about the best parliamentary tactics in the wake of Speaker of the National Assembly Sephiri Motanyane’s shock decision to thwart a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister Thabane’s government.
The motion was filed on Wednesday by ABC Member of Parliament (MP) for Koro-Koro constituency Motebang Koma and seconded by MP for Qalabane, Motlalentoa Letsosa, who is also deputy leader of the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC).
Thabane’s leadership is under intense pressure from a group of recalcitrant MPs of his own party and opposition leaders, DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu in particular, who seek to bring about a general election by tabling a vote of no confidence as soon as possible.
Mokhothu’s stance is that the rot afflicting Thabane’s government can only be treated through an election that will produce a clear winner.
But LCD leader Metsing, a former deputy prime minister, is cautious and argues that until the playing field has been levelled by reforms through constitutional and parliamentary reforms, elections would produce a faulty outcome.
“We are therefore saying there is no guarantee that Lesotho is stable enough, that problems we complained about have been solved, and that we are assured a stable government that will hold for five years should we go to the polls,” Metsing has said.
He has also said that if there are political parties that believe Lesotho needs elections, and are pushing in that direction, “we will have no choice but to go”.
“But LCD’s stance is that if the laws and in particular the constitution have not been reviewed and the playing field has not been levelled, then it’s not only a waste of time to go to elections, but it is also a burden on the public purse,” said Metsing at one of his party’s rallies.
The thick-skinned Thabane has on the other hand, indicated that he can call on a powerful political base to carry him and the party through elections anytime.
Observers in Maseru today said Metsing’s absence at the press conference laid bare deep fissures within the alliance between DC and LCD.
“These people (ABC MPs) do not genuinely want to overthrow the government. Actually what is happening here is that the ABC faction which support Professor Nqosa Mahao (newly elected ABC deputy leader) just wants access to the party’s office, that is why they are threatening to topple government.
“If Thabane can call them and resolve their issues conclusively, they are going to abandon that motion of no confidence and leave the opposition with an egg on its face. LCD will not allow itself to be used by ABC’s faction to fight internal conflict,” a source very close to the LCD said on Thursday. NW