By Billy Ntaote
MASERU — Monyane Moleleki, opposition Democratic Congress deputy leader urged supporters to acquire identity documents since these would be used in the “imminent election”. Moleleki told party supporters Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s coalition government was on the edge of collapse so they needed to prepare for an election soon.
Addressing a DC rally on Sunday in the Motimposo constituency, Moleleki told supporters to stop complaining about the lengthy process of acquiring the national ID with the Home Affairs Ministry.
“It is now obvious that the coalition partners’ marriage of inconvenience meant to oust former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili is now on the rocks,” Moleleki said.
“You need to prepare for an imminent election.”
The May 2012 national poll produced a hung parliament which led to Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP) forming a coalition government to oust Mosisili.
LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing became deputy prime minister and local government minister while BNP leader Thesele ‘Maseribane assumed the portfolios of senior cabinet minister and sports minister.
To back his claim that the coalition partners were at loggerheads, Moleleki, a former natural resources minister under the Mosisili-led administration, referred to an incident two weeks ago in which Thabane announced that the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP)’s Polihali Dam project, worth about
M15 billion, would be removed from energy, meteorology and water affairs Minister Timothy Thahane (LCD) and transferred to the prime minister’s office.
The project is a bilateral initiative between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa through which the neighbouring country will get water from Polihali while Lesotho gets Kobong Power Station.
One of the conditions of the agreement between the two governments is that fifty percent of procurement will be solicited locally.
In an official memo, the premier instructed Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe and Government Secretary Motlatsi Ramafole to facilitate the process of transferring the project to his office.
The LCD thereafter wrote a letter to Thabane demanding that the premier reverse his decision or run the risk of the party reconsidering its position in the coalition government.
In the letter, the LCD also demanded that Thabane publicly announce his decision to reverse the decision within seven days.
The “old men”, Moleleki said referring to Thabane and Thahane, are now “fighting over the control of the water project”.
“This peer of Thabane in the coalition government (Thahane) felt good as the highlands water project boss, but then his day came,” Moleleki said.
Moleleki sarcastically added: “These two old school mates from Lesotho High School are now at loggerheads. It’s now Tim versus Tom, Thahane versus Thabane.”
Popular for always poking fun at Thabane, Moleleki seized the opportunity by repeatedly punning with the two leaders’ rhyming names saying “it’s Thahane, Thabane, it’s Tim, Tom” to the cheering and whistling crowds.
Moleleki said while Thahane and Thabane were fighting for control of the LHWP project, Metsing and ‘Maseribane had been “reduced to stunned onlookers”.
As if that was not enough, Moleleki further poked fun at the three coalition partners referring to them as in the Christian concept of God, the Holy Trinity, saying Thabane is the father, Metsing the son while ‘Maseribane is the holy spirit.
Moleleki added that because the trio had formed government together out of spite, their fall-out over LHWP project was testimony to the fact that “there is no honour amongst thieves.”
The DC deputy leader, who is also the official leader of the opposition in parliament, said Thabane might feel insulted by the LCD’s letter of ultimatum saying the premier might decide to end the ABC, LCD and BNP coalition adding that would mean “time for elections”.
“Another option would be for Thabane to swallow his pride and return the highlands water project. But I cannot predict what option he will take,” Moleleki said.
“But if he opts to return the water project to Thahane he would have lost his amusement of attempting to overtake it in the first place.”
Because of this stalemate between the coalition government partners, Moleleki said DC members should “multiply your numbers and be ready for election victory”.