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ABC: a crisis of its own making



THE once mighty All Basotho Convention (ABC) is heading into the October 7 general election not only seriously divided but financially hamstrung.

The party, as explained in our lead story this week, is broke.

Some of the party’s biggest funders have fled, fed up by the leadership’s constant fights over the succession issue.

Former party leader Thomas Thabane, who has since retired from active politics, must shoulder most of the blame for the party’s current dire state.

Thabane dismally failed to manage the succession issue leading to the first serious split when deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, left in a huff to form his Basotho Action Party (BAP) two years ago.

Professor Mahao did not leave alone. He walked away with a significant chunk of the party’s electoral base as well as its key funders.

However, it would appear that the arrival of Sam Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party earlier this year perhaps delivered one of the most decisive blows on the ABC’s support base.

Most of the ABC’s biggest donors have reportedly jumped ship to the RFP. The ABC has also lost a significant chunk of its supporters, who are so critical in funding the party, to the RFP.

Matekane’s new party now enjoys massive support in urban areas, areas that had traditionally voted for the ABC since the 2007 general elections. Now the ABC appears to be the biggest loser.

Insiders within the ABC have confirmed to this newspaper that the party’s financial position is extremely dire.

This, however, is a crisis of the ABC’s own making. The party shot itself in the foot through constant infighting and a failure to manage the succession issue. It must now face the music come the October 7 general election.

With no money, the ABC is finding it extremely difficult to raise funds for its campaign programmes. That could have a serious impact on its chances of winning the election.

This is a party that not so long ago was seen with ‘messianic lenses’ by huge sections of Basotho. But it squandered that goodwill when it failed to successfully resolve its leadership squabbles.

Today, the ABC is a shadow of its former self. This is a party that has quarreled for so long.

This is a party whose sitting Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, perhaps bitter over his loss in the ABC leadership race, has opted to take the backseat in his own party’s campaign programmes.

And so instead of capitalising on the power of incumbency, the ABC is finding itself as a complete outsider, competing with the rest of the political parties for scarce resources.

That is likely to affect the ABC’s performance in the elections. In fact, the consequences for the ABC are likely to be dire.

If it loses the election, the ABC could, like many other political parties that came before it, face a total annihilation from the political scene.

It would then need a new, charismatic leader untainted by its sad past, if it is to mount any meaningful comeback.

What is also clear is that this is not the same ABC that we saw in 2017. The party was largely united, with Thabane acting as the glue for the various competing factions.

But Thabane is no longer there.

That task is now left to Nkaku Kabi who needs to do more to convince Basotho that he has what it takes to mount a serious challenge for the leadership of the ABC as well as of Lesotho.

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