FORMER Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) Pakalitha Mosisili says he has had his chance and will never seek to be voted as prime minister again even if his party was to win the next elections.
Dr Mosisili said he had even laid the groundwork for a successor by stepping aside to allow his deputy, Mathibeli Mokhothu, to be elected leader of the opposition in parliament.
Dr Mosisili said this while addressing a weekend rally that was attended by hundreds of party members at Maseru High School in Maseru.
He served as prime minister from May 1998 to June 2012 and again from March 2015 to June 2017 when he lost the snap elections. All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane became prime minister after his party entered into a coalition to with the Alliance of Democrats (AD) led by Dr Mosisili’s former deputy in the DC, Monyane Moleleki, the Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho.
Prior to the 2017 elections, the DC endured a power struggle which led to the departure of Mr Moleleki, several then DC legislators and other party members to form the AD.
And on Sunday, Dr Mosisili urged all those who left the party to return, saying it was necessary to unite so that the congress movement would once again wield power as it had comfortably done before the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) split into various political outfits including the DC.
“I swear by the Almighty living God that even if my party were to do well in the next elections I won’t be prime minister,” Dr Mosisili said on Sunday.
“I am the longest serving prime minister of this Kingdom and I feel honoured. I am not crying to be prime minister again, that is why I even have my deputy leader (Mokhothu) as the leader of opposition in parliament. All that I’m crying for is for the congress movement to rule again.
“I beg all those that left on my account to come back because I shall never be prime minister again even if the DC wins in the next elections. Come back and build this party.”
Dr Mosisili said that it was unfortunate that the divisions in the congress movement had enabled the ‘nationalist’ ABC and BNP to win power and subject the masses to alleged oppression and human rights violations.
“Today we are all suffering at the hands of the nationals. We have learnt the hard way that nothing good will ever come out of the nationalists ruling this country. Each time the nationals are in power democracy suffers because it is not in them to respect democracy.
“This is not by chance that they don’t respect democracy. In 1970 (the then BNP leader) Leabua Jonathan flatly refused to give up power because he was a national and he said ‘I have ceased power and I am not ashamed of it.’
“Even today people are still being brutally killed and some are locked up and kept in custody without standing trial. All these atrocities wouldn’t be happening if you had needed our call and voted as we had strategised. Now we are all feeling the pinch.”
He said the opposition had suspended its participation in the reforms process because of the human rights violations and the government’s constant meddling with the judiciary to remove Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara.
He also accused the government of violating the rights of murder-accused former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli in custody for a long time without trial.
Lt-Gen Kamoli has been in custody since October 2017 awaiting trial for the 30 August 2014 killing of Police Sub-Inspector, Mokheseng Ramahloko.
Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was shot and killed by soldiers during the attempted coup of 30 August 2014 at the Police Headquarters in Maseru.
He also faces 14 attempted murder charges stemming from the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesaiah Thabane and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana.
On Sunday, Dr Mosisili said the opposition had asked the government to speedily try Lt-Gen Kamoli or release him “but to date nothing has come out of that and he remains in detention”.
“We have no problem with him (Lt-Gen Kamoli) being tried but we have a problem when he is kept in custody without being given a fair trial.
“Everything is stagnant in the judiciary because the government is busy chasing the Chief Justice instead of dealing with cases that have been presented before the courts of law. A bad government makes bad decisions.
He said the government had witnessed numerous cabinet reshuffles in the short space of a year. He further accused the premier of delaying to fill the vacancies left by ministers who had resigned thus compromising the efficiency of government.
“The government has only been in power for a year but the changes in the cabinet are immense. It is a mess and I have never seen such.
“Some former ministers were accused of being corrupt and dismissed. Now no one is filling those vacancies.”
He also accused the government of unfairly dismissing youths who were employed in the Ministry of Home Affairs and by the National Security Services because they allegedly supported the congress parties such as the DC and the LCD.