ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) leader, Kabelo Mafura, says parting ways with the Democratic Congress (DC) last November was a blessing in disguise as they launched a new party “free from the DC’s corruption”
Addressing party supporters in Ha Makhalanyane over the weekend, Mr Mafura said they had realised that leaving the DC was a “way of rescuing Lesotho and Basotho from bad governance”.
The AD was formed by Monyane Moleleki after the erstwhile Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader and nine other members of the party’s National Executive Committee were suspended for six years by DC leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
The suspension was the result of a vicious power struggle in the party pitting Mr Moleleki and Dr Mosisili. Mr Moleleki and members of his faction withdrew the DC from the seven-party coalition government in November 2016 after he was reshuffled from the Police ministry to the premier’s office – a move he described as a demotion.
Thereafter, Mr Moleleki and other ministers aligned to his Lirurubele (butterflies) faction resigned and also sat in the National Assembly’s crossbench to signal their parting ways with the government. Mr Moleleki also inked an alliance pact with a three-party opposition bloc to oust the government through a parliamentary no-confidence motion which eventually succeeded on 1 March 2017.
However, a High Court ruling ended Mr Moleleki’s fight for the DC throne after it endorsed Dr Mosisili as the bona fide party leader.
Mr Mafura, who was fired as Forestry minister by Dr Mosisili last November for working with Mr Moleleki in the plot to oust him, said were it not for the suspension, the AD would not have been formed. “When Ntate Mosisili suspended us from the party, we thought of fighting the decision but realised that this was God’s way of rescuing Lesotho and Basotho from bad governance,” he said.
“That is when God whispered a message in Ntate Moleleki’s ear, telling him to form a party that would not only save Ntate Moleleki, but all Basotho.”
The former legislator for Sebapala constituency in Quthing said they fell out with their erstwhile DC colleagues because the latter “condoned corruption”.
Mr Mafura cited the controversial awarding of a vehicle fleet contract to Bidvest Fleet Company, saying it also contributed to the split in the DC.
The Lirurubele faction accused members of their Lithope – which was linked to Dr Mosisili – of corruptly influencing the awarding of the deal in Bidvest’s favour. Their ire was mainly directed at former Finance Minister Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla, whom they accused of disregarding due process in awarding the tender to Bidvest at the expense of joint venture company, Lebelonyane, that had been recommended for the contract.
Dr Khaketla, who was reshuffled to the Foreign Affairs portfolio, has vehemently denied allegations of corruption.
The government cancelled the contract with effect from 1 April 2017.
Mr Moleleki also accused the seven parties in the outgoing coalition government of corruptly handing out posts in the country’s security agencies to their supporters.
Mr Moleleki was once Police minister in the government whose partners include the DC, Lesotho Congress for Democracy, Lesotho People’s Congress, Popular Front for Democracy, Basotho Congress Party, National Independent Party and the Marematlou Freedom Party.
However, Police Minister Phallang Monare has since said the police recruitment process was above board, contrary to Mr Moleleki’s allegations.
“We left the DC because of corruption. The Bidvest saga was just the tip of an iceberg because police recruitments were also politically-motivated,” Mr Mafura said.
“This was happening while there were qualified young people who are roaming the streets looking for jobs. This, in itself, increased the high youth unemployment rates. We promise a corruption-free government if we are elected into power.”