FORMER Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has vowed his All Basotho Convention (ABC) will return to power “soon” since the governing seven-party coalition “will not last the distance”.
Addressing his first rally since the 28 February 2015 National Assembly elections in his Ha-Abia constituency on Sunday, Dr Thabane said the new government, led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, would soon collapse “because they don’t have the people’s interests at heart”.
Speaking to throngs of party supporters, he said with 40 constituency seats against the Democratic Congress’ 37, the ABC had “won” the general elections.
“I am told there are 80 constituencies in Lesotho, and ABC had 40, so that is a win,” said Dr Thabane to rapturous applause from the party faithful.
“I see some people claiming to be government, but I do not care whatever they say because the ABC won the elections.”
With the added 40 proportional representation seats, the DC tally went up to 47, while the ABC clinched 46 of the 120 parliamentary seats on offer. However, since none of the 23 contesting parties won the minimum 61 seats needed to form government on its own, the DC, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independent Party (NIP), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) formed government on 4 March 2015.
Dr Thabane said Dr Mosisili, who was sworn in as premier on Tuesday, was bereft of ideas to develop the country as “evidenced by his previous tenure in power”.
“Mr Mosisili cannot do anything better than what he did in 14 years,” he said.
“Sooner, rather than later, we will be back in power and delivering services to the nation and not these people who steal from the public purse all the time.”
Taking a swipe at his former coalition partner and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, Dr Thabane said the coalition government was led by people who “only want to enrich themselves”.
“Look how the deputy prime minister could not even ensure the construction of roads over there (in Ha-Matala and Ha-Leqele villages), where there was money allocated for that area to be developed,” he said.
This was in reference to allegations before the courts that Mr Metsing received bribes from a company called Big Bravo Construction (PTY) Ltd in order to award it the tender to construct roads in the villages.
He urged the ABC supporters in attendance to start registering in large numbers in preparations for elections “soon” saying the coalition government “would not last”.
Dr Thabane also blamed the “unethical conduct” of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) for the security challenges the nation was facing.
“I urge the LDF to work within the perimeters of the country’s laws because the army is for the whole nation and not some individuals,” the former premier said.
“Look at where South Africa is now, the people fought the minority regime and its army and now there is no apartheid.
“From 1998, we worked so hard to ensure that we professionalise the army but it seems that our efforts were fruitless.”
He said the army should “read the law carefully” and work for the security of the nation and not for a few people.
Contacted for comment, LCD Acting Secretary General Tšeliso Mokhosi said Dr Thabane “should no longer be taken seriously” because he is “a failure”.
“Dr Thabane is a liability to our country has proved to be incompetent as far as government administration is concerned,” Mr Mokhosi said. “He failed to keep his job as prime minister and only has himself to blame.
“He should have handled the position of premier with care and become someone Basotho could trust, but he wanted more than that, which was his downfall.
“Now he is now crying like a baby and should just go and rest at his home peacefully or else remain in opposition.”
Mr Mokhosi, who was Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs minister in Dr Thabane’s government, said a clear example of the ABC leader’s alleged ineptitude was his failure to manage the security situation yet being Defence, Police and National Security minister.
The LCD stalwart said it was ironic that Dr Thabane was telling ABC supporters that he had no support from the army “yet he was the head of government”.
“I was the Water Affairs minister in the previous government but never lost control of that ministry,” said Mr Mokhosi.
“Why did Thabane, as the Defence minister, lose control over his portfolio? It is only because his administration of government ministries left a lot to be desired.
“He is the only person in the previous government who lost control of their ministry. How could Mr Metsing and Dr Mosisili, who was in the opposition control his ministry?
“It just shows that Dr Thabane was not effective in discharging his duties and should rest.”