ABC youth league under fire

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MASERU — Pitso Maisa, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) MP for Motimposo, wants the party’s national youth committee disbanded because it is believed to be loyal to the party’s secretary-general Macaefa Billy, a senior youth leader has claimed.

Mohoalohoalo Jane, the national youth committee’s publicist, told the Lesotho Times this week that he believed Maisa has been lobbying other senior party members to disband the youth committee.

The reason, Jane said, was that Maisa was part of a group of senior party members that believes the youth committee has “special ties” with Billy that might cause serious problems for the party.

Maisa was once the president of the youth league.

Jane said since the alliance between the ABC and the Lesotho Workers Party (LWP) collapsed two months ago Maisa has been leading a clandestine campaign to purge the party of elements that are believed to be too close to Billy.

Billy, who is the leader of the LWP, was appointed secretary general of the ABC after the two parties merged in the run-up to the 2007 general elections.

The ABC has said now that the alliance has been disbanded Billy no longer holds that position.

But the party has not officially announced the decision to remove Billy from his post.  

Jane said Maisa and other senior members might be worried because the youth league has said it is opposed to the decision to end the alliance with the LWP.

He said Maisa has on numerous occasions accused the youth league of being pro-Billy.

“He called us traitors,” Jane said.

Three weeks ago, Jane said, Maisa confronted youths who were meeting at Unity English Medium Primary School in Khubetsoana and accused them of being hostile to ABC leader Thomas Thabane.

“He (Maisa) said we had gathered there solely to undermine and insult the ABC leader and that he would fight us until he was dead if the situation called for it,” Jane said.

Jane said he told Maisa that there was bound to be confrontation at the meeting because “we had gathered there to discuss serious and sensitive issues”.

Jane said Maisa continued his attack on the youth at an ABC rally that was held in Koro-Koro, a week after the meeting at Unity Primary School.

“Maisa did say that the ABC youth committee should be disbanded because of its incompetence and having failed to do its job at a rally in Koro-Koro three weeks ago,” Jane said.

According to Jane, Maisa “had no business” addressing the ABC youth committee issues at the Koro-Koro rally as he was not a stakeholder in the party’s youth committee affairs.

 “Maisa was totally out of line and his actions should not have been condoned by the ABC chairman (Molobeli Soulo) in charge of that rally because he broke protocol.”

Jane claimed that both Soulo and  Thabane just looked on as Maisa “practically disbanded the youth committee in their presence”.

“The ABC leader should also have intervened by reprimanding the chairman for failing to call Maisa to order as he had no mandate to address youth committee affairs,” Jane said.

Jane said his suspicion was that Maisa might have been prodded to attack the ABC youth committee due to what he described as charges that the youth committee “aligns itself with secretary-general Macaefa Billy”.

“I believe the attack was motivated by the notion that Billy has control over the ABC youth committee,” Jane said.

 “As the ABC national youth committee we have no special relations with Ntate Billy as a person, neither do we have any special relationship with Ntate Thabane,” Jane said.

 “We have penned a letter to the ABC executive committee requesting that issues surrounding the alliance be discussed at the party’s October annual general conference,” Jane said.

“We strongly believe ending the alliance undermines our potency as the opposition. We need the political muscle to win elections and become government. We can only achieve that as a collective.”

When contacted for comment on Monday, Maisa told this paper that he stood by his proposition “to have the ABC youth committee dissolved”.

“I said it and will continue to say so, solely for the good of the party. The youth committee has failed in its mandate. I can count many things it failed to do,” Maisa said.

He however vociferously refused to elaborate on where and how the ABC youth committee had failed.

 “If you publish this, it will destroy whatever relations exist between us as we speak. It will create the impression that I want to go back to the youth committee. It is not true.

“I do not want people thinking I am still bitter about not being part of that committee. But I will continue talking about ABC youth issues because I am in parliament because of their votes.”

Maisa also admitted that he had a heated exchange with some members of the ABC youth committee including Jane at the Unity Primary School grounds.

“But I will also not go into it. All I can say is that I do not recall Mohoalohoalo saying they were going to discuss issues that could upset youth from my constituency,” Maisa said.  

The youths showed their discontent at an ABC rally in Mazenod on July 25 when they protested against the leadership’s decision to disband the alliance.

They were however clobbered by Thabane’s bodyguards.

Other party sources said they believed Maisa and other people close to Thabane are worried that the youths might cause problems at the party’s national conference on October 28.

The leadership, the source added, is worried that the youth might stage further protests against the decision to end the alliance and might even push for the reinstatement of Billy.

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