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Majoro must stand his ground



THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) is in turmoil once again with party leader Thomas Thabane openly clashing with his deputy, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, over the direction the party should take. We are not surprised by the latest twist to this long-running political soap opera. Thabane recently accused Majoro, a trusted lieutenant, of leading a faction that is undermining his authority as party leader. Majoro, who seems to be playing his cards close to his chest, has denied the allegation insisting he remains a loyal cadre of the ABC. Thabane has now ordered his son-in-law and party secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, to organise constituency meetings around the country where he will “meet the people” to chart the way forward. The “meet-the-people” constituency meetings will end on December 12 and only then will Thabane make decisions to ‘‘ensure law and order in the party”. We can smell what is coming Majoro’s way and it would be an act of political euthanasia on the Premier’s part to pretend that he does not know what’s coming. When the party speaks of “law and order,” it is clear that it wants to whip all “rebels”, including Majoro, into line. But that would be misguided on the part of Thabane and his backers. We have always argued that at 82, Thabane is way past his sell-by date. He has run his race and must now pass on the baton. Unfortunately, the man still thinks he is the “poster boy” of Lesotho politics and therefore refuses to let go of political power. He still wants to have a say in the direction the party takes. His wife, ’Maesiah, who is also said to harbour political ambitions of her own, remains an unelectable and perhaps the most maligned woman in Lesotho after her shenanigans when her husband was still in office. It would be suicidal for Thabane to even dream of pushing his wife as a proxy in the battle for political supremacy. As we have argued in previous editorials, Thabane should have quietly slipped into retirement at his Makhoakhoeng home. But he didn’t. Instead, the ABC has allowed Thabane to continue meddling behind the scenes, causing much consternation within the corridors of power and in his own party. The party’s constitution should have clearly stipulated that a founding president should retire peacefully after serving his two terms. The party failed to do so and appears keen to use the old man as a “scarecrow” during the next elections. That is the tragedy that the ABC finds itself in. But as we inch closer to a decisive general election next year, it is becoming clearer that Majoro will soon have to assert his authority if he wants to entertain any dreams of retaining office. He will also have to ditch Thabane who remains an albatross on his neck. Majoro must show us that he is his own man. He needs to get out of Thabane’s shadow and assert himself as a competent technocrat. After his elevation to the country’s biggest job in May last year, we are sure that Majoro would want a fresh five-year term of his own to drive his own political agenda. But his close association with Thabane will however likely cost him a few votes. The sooner he disentangles himself from Thabane, the better for his political prospects. It is as simple as that.  

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