Lesotho: Ntsekele Accused of Plotting Thabane's Ouster

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane's children have accused former All Basotho Convention (ABC) secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele of feigning loyalty to the premier while plotting his ouster with opposition Lesotho Congress of Lesotho (LCD) leader Mothejoa Metsing.

The sensational claims are contained in a recent leaked telephone conversation between Dr Thabane's daughter, Advocate 'Mabatṧoeneng Hlaele and her brother Potlako Thabane, which has since gone viral on social media.

Mr Potlako was not reachable for comment as his mobile phone rang unanswered. Mr Ntsekele initially said he would get back to this reporter but he did not do so. Subsequent attempts to call him proved fruitless as mobile phone rang unanswered.

In the leaked audio, the duo discuss the instability in the ABC which is tottering on the verge of an acrimonious split after their father this week 'expelled' deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao, secretary general Lebohang Hlaele, chairperson Samuel Rapapa and deputy spokesperson 'Matebatso Doti.

Mr Hlaele is Adv Hlaele's husband. He was also dismissed from his post as Law and constitutional Affairs minister. Although the reasons for his dismissal were not given it was widely believed that he had been punished for supporting Prof Mahao.

However, as evidenced by the leaked conversation, Dr Thabane's children appear to think that their father was not in full control of his faculties and he was probably being pushed into actions without fully comprehending the likely destructive consequences.

"I am a bit worried that as usual, they could have made him sign (the new NEC's expulsion letters) without him knowing what he was signing," Potlako is heard saying.

Last Thursday Prof Mahao and his colleagues were slapped with letters demanding that they "show cause" why they should not be expelled from the party for insubordination. (See lead story on page 2).

The letters were delivered in the absence of Dr Thabane who was in Johannesburg and this fuelled widespread suspicions that they could have been written by someone else.

"These letters could have been written during one of the many meetings held at the Chinese owned restaurant where they (Ntsekele and others) always converge and scheme.

"Now I'm on my feet fighting this boy (Mr Ntsekele) and by now he knows. I have learnt about the meeting he (Mr Ntsekele) had with (Lesotho Congress of Democracy leader Mothejoa) Metsing. In that meeting it was agreed that (Finance minister Moeketsi) Majoro would be made prime minister and Metsing would deputise him.

"Metsing refused the offer as he said Ntate Thabane doesn't like him and Ntsekele told him not to worry because Ntate Thabane is going," Mr Potlako is heard saying.

Adv Hlaele replies by saying, "I don't mind Ntate Thabane resting, I think it's time (to step down) but he should not be pushed by boys like Ntsekele who was a nobody and uplifted by my dad... It irks me that Ntsekele is negotiating behind his back".

Mr Potlako then says there was a plot to use the aborted ABC special conference which had been called by Mr Ntsekele to elect new people into the ABC's NEC in place of Prof Mahao and his faction. The conference, which had been slated for 14 June, was called off after Prof Mahao and the rest of the new NEC were confirmed by a 12 June High Court ruling as the legitimate NEC of the ABC.

Commenting on the aborted party conference, Mr Potlako said, "I learnt that there was a plan to elect some members into the committee while others would be suspended indefinitely. Majoro would be made the deputy leader. Now the million dollar question, which I would want everyone to ask themselves is 'what exactly does this boy (Mr Ntsekele) want if he doesn't want to be PM himself? What is it that he really wants, why is he staying on?"

Adv Hlaele replies to this by asking why her brothers and others who were close to Dr Thabane were not saving him from the clutches of Mr Ntsekele. In response, Mr Potlako said it was not easy to do that since Mr Ntsekele always called the premier and even demanded to be left alone to engage in confidential discussions with him.

"Father was able to protect himself from Ntate Ntsu Mokhehle during his time but now he can't protect himself from Ntsekele.

"It is unfortunate that the (14 June) conference did not happen. This boy (Ntsekele) is lucky because this is where I was going to have a platform to embarrass him. As the chairperson of Abia constituency, I wanted to tell the delegates that he wants to topple our leader."

Adv Hlaele then says she was tired of the situation and that Mr Ntsekele was the "de facto prime minister and our father is letting him be".

Adv Hlaele yesterday confirmed the authenticity of the leaked audio clip. She however, refused to discuss its contents but apologised to her brother for accidentally leaking it. "I only felt it was necessary for me to apologise to those who look up to me lest they thought I was being malicious," she said.

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