Lesotho: Mahao, Allies Defy Mahao's Rally Ban

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All Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao this week addressed a party rally in Likhoele, Mafeteng, in apparent defiance of Acting Chief Justice 'Maseforo Mahase's recent order barring him and his faction from addressing ABC rallies.

The former National University of Lesotho (NUL) Vice Chancellor dared the police to arrest him for the apparent defiance of Justice Mahase's order. He however, warned that the "broke government" would be forced to pay him "lots of money" it did not have as compensation if ever he was arrested.

A fortnight ago on 5 July 2019, Justice Mahase dealt Prof Mahao and his faction a massive blow when she issued an interim order barring them from "calling and/or convening any rallies of the All Basotho Convention... "

The order was granted after ABC leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and ABC deputy secretary general Nkaku Kabi petitioned the High Court to stop a special conference which the Mahao camp had pencilled in for 6 July 2019 in Maseru.

It was issued against Prof Mahao, Lebohang Hlaele (secretary general), Samuel Rapapa (chairperson), Montoeli Masoetsa (spokesperson) and 'Matebatso Doti (deputy spokesperson) who Dr Thabane recently "expelled" from the party for alleged insubordination.

The special conference had been called by the Mahao faction to deliberate on disciplinary measures to be taken against Dr Thabane, Mr Kabi and former secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele who they recently "suspended" from the party. The Mahao faction, whose election at the February 2019 elective conference has been upheld by the courts in a 12 June 2019 judgement, wanted to use the special conference to expel the three from the ABC. The faction said it had suspended them, with Dr Thabane being the last to have been suspended for "causing confusion and fanning sectarian tendencies within the ABC".

The conference also aimed to tackle the ABC infighting in the wake of Dr Thabane's refusal to recognise Prof Mahao as his deputy.

Despite Justice Mahase's 5 July interdict, Prof Mahao and his allies all attended the Likhoele rally dressed in the regular clothes instead of the ABC regalia which they have worn to previous rallies.

Prof Mahao used the opportunity to mock Justice Mahase's order saying it had too many loopholes because she granted it after being misinformed by "half-baked" lawyers.

"Go and check if there is anywhere in 'Maseforo's order where I, Nqosa Mahao, have been barred from addressing the rallies, so here I am talking," Prof Mahao said adding, "Neither did she bar me from attending rallies so here I am".

"Go and tell Mme 'Maseforo that I am attending and addressing this rally. Police officers, here I am addressing the people.

"I dare one audacious police officer to arrest me at the rallies or at my house in Qoatsaneng for attending rallies. If that happened this government would pay me a lot of money. It's a pity the government is so broke that they cannot pay private companies for services and so the companies are closing down."

Prof Mahao also tore into Mr Ntsekele, accusing the former ABC secretary general of leading the plots to expel them from the party. He also alleged that Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and army commander Mojalefa Letsoela were almost fired from their posts for disobeying orders to stop the Mahao faction's rallies.

He said even though the former NEC had handed over power to the new NEC, Mr Ntsekele was still doing as he pleased in the party and he still wrote speeches for the prime minister.

"The former (ABC's) NEC say that we should not refer to ourselves as the NEC. We call them the 'Ntsekele Expulsion Committee' because they are big on firing ABC members. He (Mr Ntsekele) started by firing (former ABC deputy leader) comrade (Tlali) Khasu. I am quite sure that all he dreams of is firing me. They tried to fire me on the first day of the elective conference. Ntsekele, for his love of firing people, fired me again of the 17th June. He is popular for firing people.

"Now they have served the President of Appeal Court (Justice Kananelo Mosito) with a letter saying he must 'show cause' why he cannot be fired from his post. That is what they do best. I was informed by someone who holds a prominent position in government that they wanted to fire the commissioner of police for refusing to block us from holding a rally in Qoaling (on 9 June 2019).

"The commander of the Lesotho Defence Force was also at the brink of being served with a 'show cause' letter for refusing to take orders from those who are committing crimes against us," Prof Mahao said.

He also had no kind words for Finance minister Moeketsi Majoro who he accused failing to restore the country's economic fortunes.

"A young man- my friend Majoro- is entrusted with reviving this country's economy.

"You would think that he (Dr Majoro) would explain to people why he is failing to pay private companies. Even with our country experiencing serious economic problems than before, Ntate Majoro remains as cold as ice," Prof Mahao said.

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