Lesotho Times

ABC set to lose more supporters

The newly formed ABC gave the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) a bloody nose at the next polls when it won 17 seats during the 2007 elections with the ruling party winning 61 seats.

This was a stunning electoral success.

There was hope among thousands of Basotho that the ABC would at the next elections eventually knock the LCD from its perch.

There were numerous reasons why the ABC performed so well and why the LCD conceded a lot of ground during that election.

For the majority of Basotho in urban areas there was a feeling that the LCD was insensitive to their plight.

In the run-up to the election there was palpable anger among voters after ministers bought expensive cars at ridiculously knocked down prices.

Ministers had also been awarded hefty salary increases.

There was a perception that the government was corrupt. This perception fed public anger against the LCD.

When Tom Thabane formed the ABC it was natural that his party would benefit from this rising anger against the ruling party at the polls.

Voters felt the ruling party had neglected their interests.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili came into power in 1998 and served his first term until 2002. He then ran for a second term which expired in 2007.

During the 2007 election Mosisili availed himself for yet another term. This angered some people who turned against the ruling party during the election.

Voters in urban areas felt Mosisili had overstayed his welcome and wanted change. They felt he had been at the helm for too long.

This in my opinion explains why the LCD lost those 17 seats during the election.

During 2007 the ABC was the toast of the town. Thabane was on cloud nine.

But even soon after its formation the ABC had already started running into problems. The selection of candidates for the 2007 general election posed serious challenges to the ABC.

There were rumblings of discontent with Thabane’s leadership style.

Party supporters accused Thabane of dictatorial tendencies after he imposed candidates in some constituencies.

People in the various constituencies said they had been sidelined in the process of selecting candidates for the elections.

The ABC national executive commitee said they had selected these candidates because they had crossed the floor together from the LCD.

In a way the party felt these party cadres had to be rewarded for their loyalty to Thabane.

This proved a costly move for the ABC.

The problems within the ABC took a turn for the worst last year following the defection of senior members first to Senkatana party and now to the LCD.

Among those who quit the party over the past eight months are Lehlohonolo Tsehlana, the party’s former deputy secretary for publicity and Eliabe Mokhanoi, the party’s Member of Parliament for Lithoteng constituency.

The MP for Maputsoe constituency, Nkhetse Monyalotsa, quit the ABC to rejoin the LCD in late March.

The latest defections paint a picture of an ABC in complete turmoil.

Thabane has however defiantly dismissed these internal party problems as a non-event.

But clearly Thabane needs to admit that his house is on fire.

Thabane must call for help to douse the flames that are threatening to raze his house to the ground.

Even his former bodyguards who fled the country into exile following the 2007 political disturbances are at his throat.

Last week the fugitives turned against their former boss accusing him of neglecting them during their stay in South Africa.

Thabane once again dismissed their complaints as nonsense.

I think the man missed a golden opportunity to reassert his control over the party.

With all these problems mounting against the ABC I think the party is headed for a complete whitewash at the next polls in 2012.

The party is likely to lose more supporters as we get closer to the polls.

There are lots of negative things surrounding the ABC at present.

For example, last week the media reported that at least two ABC supporters had been arrested in connection with the attack at the prime minister’s house last month.

With the chaos within the party we are likely to see more people quitting the embattled party.

Urban voters must be thoroughly disillusioned with the ABC because of its constant internal fights. There is a perception that the ABC, under Thabane, had lost its sense of direction.

Members are seriously demoralised and see politics as a vehicle for the powerful to stroke their ego.

Instead of debating serious issues all we hear within the party are catfights – who did what and to whom.

To stem this internal haemorrage the ABC must come up with a clear succession model to fight the crisis rocking the party.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

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