Lesotho: ABC Suffers Another Major Blow As Phamotse Defects to Bap

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro (file photo).
21 September 2021

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro's fractured ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) has suffered yet another blow. This after its Likhoele (Mafeteng) Member of Parliament (MP), Molefi Phamotse, this week defected to the opposition Basotho Action Party (BAP) of Professor Nqosa Mahao.

Mr Phamotse said unending internal conflicts within the ABC had forced him to ditch the party that he once adored for the BAP, the newly formed splinter party of the ABC.

He said he had decided to leave the ABC after realising that internal conflicts had damaged the party beyond repair and that convincing the Likhoele electorate to give him a new mandate while he was still under the ABC banner in 2022 was going to be a tough task.

Mr Phamotse becomes the 15th MP the ABC has lost since Dr Majoro took over as the premier in May 2020.

Others are Tefo Mapesela who has formed his Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP), Morekhane Tsatsanyane who went to the Democratic Congress (DC), Sello Mooki now with the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and Kaya Nyapane who has found a new home at the Movement for Economic Change (MEC). Fako Moshoeshoe, Motlatsi Maqelepo, Nto Moakhi, 'Mamoipone Senauoane, Tello Kibane, Libe Motšoane, Mphosi Nkhasi, Motebang Koma and Sotlehang Sekhamane all joined the BAP on its formation.

Just like most of his colleagues, Mr Phamotse has accused Dr Majoro of only awarding jobs to his loyalists at the expense of other party members.

He said the decision to only reward Dr Majoro's inner circle with state posts continues to tear the party apart. It was no longer safe to contest for elections under the ABC banner.

"The ABC continues to be involved in endless internal conflicts and no one wants to be associated with a family that is always fighting," Mr Phamotse said yesterday.

"I defected to BAP on Monday and I was removed from the ABC WhatsApp group on the same day."

He added: "There is just no vision in the ABC, the party is absorbed in internal conflicts".

"Instead of effectively delivering services, the ABC is busy fighting within. Even those ABC MPs who say they have lost confidence in Majoro's administration do not really do so because of substantive political differences. Their main gripe is that the prime minister is seemingly preoccupied with reinforcing his control over the party by dishing jobs to his close allies".

He said awarding jobs to close friends was one of the reasons why an undisclosed number of ABC MPs wanted to vote Dr Majoro out of office.

"In the ABC MPs WhatsApp group that I was in, I picked the real reason why MPs want to topple Majoro. It is because he is preoccupied with dishing jobs to his close allies instead of effectively delivering services to enable us to boldly go back to the constituencies and ask for a fresh mandate in the next elections.

"While the ABC is consumed with internal conflicts, time is moving and there will come a time when we would have to go back to the electorate and we would not know what to say to them. This will negatively affect the confidence of any ABC MP because the ABC, despite being given power to lead the government, has not really done anything for the people."

The 55-year-old politician said he realised that joining the BAP was his best option. This will enable him to confidently stand before the electorate and ask for a new mandate. I joined the ABC in 2012 and stood for elections under its banner in 2017. I wanted to retire at the age of 55 but now I realise that I would have to ask for a fresh mandate because my promises to the electorate have not been met.

"These include electricity connections and decisively dealing with the Ha-Raliemere/Ha-Ramokoatsi killings which have been happening for years at Thota-ea-Mali -- loosely translated as hill of blood. I had thought I would be able to solve that but I have not because the ABC is not so much concerned about service delivery but internal conflicts," Mr Phamotse said.

Contacted for comment, ABC spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa accused Mr Phamotse of lying.

"He is lying. That person, after we had signed the coalition agreement last year, he went to Mahao and told Mahao to ensure that he gets appointed into cabinet because he was part of the faction that supported us when we were still in the Likatana faction. I don't know the agreement between them but he was never appointed into cabinet even though we had requested Majoro to ensure that he appointed at least one MP into cabinet from all the districts that we have won elections from.

"Majoro chose not to do that. As a result, there were no ministers from Mohale's Hoek and Mafeteng and I established that he (Mr Phamotse) was unhappy and wanted a ministerial post. I went to Mafeteng to meet him and indicated that the appointment of ministers was solely Majoro's discretion and he did not appoint anyone from Mohale's Hoek and Mafeteng even though national executive committee (NEC) had advised him to do so," Mr Masoetsa said.

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