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Thabane still calls shots – supporters

ABC leader Motsoahae Thabane addressing his supporters

May 25, 2021 6 min read

6 min read

THE Sunday All Basotho Convention (ABC) rally in Ha Abia has underlined the kind of cloud the party’s octogenarian leader, Motsoahae Thabane still swings among his followers, despite the recent fracases that saw two parties breaking away from the ruling party.

Thousands of ABC members who braved the cold weather to attend the gathering could not stop to blow their leader’s trumpet, with some declaring their unconditional love and support for him and his wife, ’Maesaiah.

“He is the clue that holds the party together and he is the only hope this country of ours has towards a better and free future,” said ’Mamolise Melao from Likhoele constituency in Mafeteng.

Melao was also quick to admit that as members, their wish was to see Thabane leading the party until he was totally incapacitated.

“We want him at the helm of the party until he is too old to walk unaided, even if he is no longer the prime minister,” she said.

The chairman of the Mokhotlong constituency, Serame Tsatsi said they are currently pushing to have the former First Lady (’Maesaiah) as their candidate in the constituency in the forthcoming general elections.

’Maesaiah Thabane, born Liabiloe Ramoholi is a native of Mokhotlong.

“She is the most ideal person to represent us in the National Assembly,” Tsatsi also showed, adding that the residents of Mokhotlong strongly believe in her along with her husband and the ABC.

This is notwithstanding that the former First Lady is charged with the murder of Thabane’s estranged wife, Lipolelo.

On May 19, 2020 Thabane stepped down as prime minister following months of pressure after he was named as a suspect in Lipolelo’s murder.

Gunmen ambushed Lipolelo, 58, in her vehicle as she drove to her Ha ’Masana home on the outskirts of Maseru on June 14, 2017.

She was in the company of a family friend Thato Sibolla when the attack occurred.

The incident happened two days before Thabane was sworn in for a second term.

’Maesaiah was charged in connection with the killing, but the couple has denied any involvement.

The pomp and merry that accompanied the weekend assembly kept everybody on their toes the entire duration of the event.

Musicians enthralled the gathering with their electrifying songs, chants and dance moves that are synonymous with the party commonly known as Kobotata ea Basotho.

The rally was aimed at reinventing and rebuilding the party after it suffered a devastating blow when some of its Members of Parliament left to form two break-away parties about a month ago.

Former ABC deputy leader Professor Nqosa Mahao formed the Basotho Action Party while MP for Mokhotlong, Tefo Mapesela formed the Basotho Progressive Party (BPP).

Mahao who was also the Minister of Law and Justice in the current coalition government was sacked after forming his new party.

Addressing his fervent followers on Sunday, Thabane said the recent misunderstandings within the party ranks resulted in rebellions and chaos as well as the formation of “smaller and insignificant break-away parties”.

“But that will certainly not debilitate or discourage us in anyway. The journey of freedom is long, tedious and demands a lot of commitment. It hurts to see some of us turn their backs on us to form their own parties.

“We all worked hard as members to ensure that the ABC leads the current coalition government. Most of us were forced to flee our motherland to seek refuge on foreign land while others lost their lives in the fight for the overall freedom of Basotho,” the leader said.

He appealed to his ABC comrades not to forget where they came from as that would be unfortunate because it would forestall them from achieving their ultimate goal, which is true and eternal freedom.

“From the very beginning, our journey has not been easy as people who did not wish us well came into our midst and divided us, causing chaos in the process.

“We therefore need to from this moment wake up. If we fail to urgently introspect, we will in future cry over spilt milk,” he said.

With the ways things are now, he said it is imperative to go back to the party roots and ask God for guidance as well as direction.

He added, “If we work hard, join hands and stop the bickering, we still have a chance to prove to this nation that the ABC can lead this country out of its miseries,” he said.

He also apologised to the party members who complain about being sidelined for job opportunities and the “unjust administration” rife in the ruling party.

"We are going to work this out to get lasting peace in the party," he promised, adding that the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) would deal with woes affecting the party.

Thabane agreed that although the party faced a myriad of challenges in the past, its members however, buried the hatchet and moved on. 

The former premier could nonetheless not mince his words when speaking about the rapists who sexually molest women and children.

“They deserve to feel the full brunt of the law for their actions,” he also said.

For his part, ABC deputy leader and Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro appealed to the defectors to return to the fold.  

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He said those who left are lost, warning them that the ABC still stands united and intact.

He further appealed to the supporters to go the 2022 general elections as a strong and united front.

Highlighting some of the current coalition government’s recent achievements, Dr Majoro showed that they have engaged scores of nurses who were earlier this year dismissed by the Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

“We have also taken cognisance of the fact that factory workers are still demanding salary increment,” adding that the government is soon going to release the much awaited gazette for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 wage hike for factory workers.

He added: “The Minister of Labour and Employment Mr Moshe Leoma has reliably informed me that they are working on the finishing touches of the gazette.”

At the twist of events, the rally that was quite successful ended in in tears as some of the party members were forced to wait for hours in the cold because the taxis that took them to the event demanded payment.

This persisted until the holdup was eventually resolved by the party big wigs that intervened in the misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, Mahao also held a similar rally in Hlotse, Leribe on Sunday afternoon.

It was BAP’s second rally after the maiden one was held on May 16 in Ha Rantšetse, Korokoro on the outskirts of Maseru.


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