Lesotho: Witchdoctors Can't Save Thabane - Vows Mokhothu

The Lesotho flag.
27 November 2019

Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, says snap elections are imminent and "witchdoctors will not be able to save the Thomas Thabane administration from collapse".

Mr Mokhothu said this while addressing a weekend rally in Sefikeng, Tṧoana Makhulo. His comments follow the recent leaking of an audio clip where Dr Thabane's daughter, Advocate 'Mabatṧoeneng Hlaele, alleges that the First Lady, 'Maesaiah Thabane, sought the services of traditional healers in Durban. In an astonishing tirade captured in her recorded audio message to a relative, Selimo Thabane, Adv Hlaele is also heard suggesting that the First Lady had a hand in the murder of Dr Thabane's former wife, Lipolelo Thabane in June 2017.

Adv Hlaele alleges that Ms Thabane enlisted the help of the traditional healers to ensure that members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC)'s old national executive committee (NEC) prevailed against Professor Nqosa Mahao and his allies at the ABC's February 2019 elective conference.

Despite the First Lady's alleged dalliances with the South African traditional healers, Prof Mahao won the deputy leader's post, beating the likes of then acting incumbent, Prince Maliehe, Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro and former ABC chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe. Prof Mahao's victory was however, rejected by Dr Thabane on the grounds that he was a relative newcomer who should not have been elected ahead of seasoned party stalwarts. His rejection set off a train of events which have culminated in the no confidence motion against Dr Thabane by ABC legislators loyal to Prof Mahao.

The DC and other opposition parties, except the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), have thrown their weight behind the motion which could bring down the four party coalition comprising of the ABC, Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

On Sunday Mr Mokhothu and members of the DC's NEC began by attending a church service at the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) in Sefikeng.

Thereafter he told a rally at the Sefikeng High School grounds that the DC was a God-fearing party and witchdoctors would not save the Thabane regime from the looming no confidence vote. Former DC leader and Primer Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, and his wife 'Mathato also attended the rally.

"We all heard that the daughter of the prime minister has also grown tired of the corruption in government and she has made serious allegations in an audio clip. If it wasn't for her, we would not know who Lipolelo's killers are," Mr Mokhothu said.

"We also heard that they (First Lady and the ABC) run after witchdoctors in Durban but no Zulu witchdoctors will save the government from collapse. They can go to Durban all they want but that will not help. God will deliver this nation."

The Tṧoana Makhulo constituency was won by the ABC in the 3 June 2017 elections. Mr Mokhothu apologised for the DC's failures while in government and implored the constituency to vote them back into power in the event of snap polls.

"Tṧoana Makhulo, we wronged you prior to 3 June 2017 elections and we are sorry for that. Ntate Thabane has no option but to either hand over power or call for elections. We should gear up for elections and work hard to lure more people to the DC so that we overturn our loss to the ABC which was by 1000 votes when they beat us in 2017.

"That 1000 votes variance is now a minor issue looking at how they (ABC) are conducting themselves. They have disappointed you by failing to fulfil the promises they made during their 2017 campaigns. They vowed to end poverty but they are now in the forefront of causing it.

"There have not been any meaningful community developments under the ABC in terms of roads construction, rural electrification and provision of water because the government is busy misusing public funds for international trips which have now cost over M200 million.

"All they are good at is fighting over tenders. They recently fought over the M380 million Mpilo road tender which they want to give to the Chinese. They crippled the wool and mohair industry through their regulations. The DC has always called for the repeal of that law which forbids farmers from selling their wool and mohair to whoever they want from wherever they want. The multi-billion medical cannabis industry has also been given to foreigners under the guise of promoting foreign investment."

Mr Mokhothu said the governing coalition were hypocrites for accusing the previous DC-led government of murder after the "accidental killing" of just one soldier yet they (current government) have turned a blind eye to the killings of at least 50 civilians by the police.

This was in reference to the June 2015 murder of army commander, Maaparankoe Mahao, by fellow soldiers. The army, then under the command of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, alleged that Lt-Gen Mahao had been killed while resisting arrest but this was rejected by a SADC commission of inquiry and the Mahao family who insisted that he was murdered in cold blood.

Commenting on the issue on Sunday, Mr Mokhothu said, "When they were in opposition they accused us of being murderers just because one soldier had died by mistake while he was being arrested by his colleagues. But more than 50 people have died at the hands of the police after the prime minister publicly instructed them to torture suspects".

He vowed that a DC government would prioritise the welfare of all Basotho.

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