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Power deal divides ABC

THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) is bitterly divided on whether it should join Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s coalition government. So deep are the divisions that the ABC’s weekly leadership meeting on Monday almost descended into chaos as executive committee members argued over the suggestion to join the government.

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Sources who were in the meeting told thepost that the majority of the committee members were aggressively pushing for the party to join the government while leader Nkaku Kabi, and another member, ’Malelaka Malakane, argued against it.

Neither Kabi nor Malakane could be reached for comment at the time of going to print last night.
Lebohang Hlaele, the secretary general, admitted that the option to join the government was discussed but said “it did not form an integral part of the agenda”. Hlaele also denied that tempers flared at the meeting.

Three people who were present, however, described the meeting as heated and confirmed that the majority wanted to join the government.
Seven of the ABC’s eight MPs were at the meeting, according to the sources who refused to be named for fear of retribution.

“The rest of the attendants wanted the ABC to be part of the government,” said a committee member who insisted that Kabi has no choice but to give in to the majority’s wish and join the government.

He said Kabi was adamant that the committee has “no power to push the party into the coalition government” and should hold off the decision until the upcoming elective conference is near.

The ABC will elect a new national executive committee in March and the campaigns are in full swing.
All the committee’s positions, except the leader’s, will be contested.

“Even members who are seen as Kabi’s loyalists turned against him and pushed him to join the coalition,” the source said.

Another committee member said he was openly supporting the government.

“I want to tell you that I always stand with the majority,” he said, adding: “The majority decided in January last year at the leadership conference held at AME Hall that we will join the coalition government.”

He said after Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) won the 2022 election “we were approached with a proposal to form a coalition government but we told them that we were yet to consult our party”.

He said as they were still trying to consult the followers “a coalition was quickly cobbled and we were left outside”.

“However, we ultimately held the leadership conference in January and the majority decided to join the government,” he said.

He said it is surprising that after the decision and until now Kabi is pushing the opposite agenda.
An ABC official who is not a member of the committee but was briefed about the meeting said Kabi believes those pushing to join the government have business deals with prominent members of the RFP”.

“All they want is to protect their business opportunities with those in government,” he said.

Hlaele told thepost their meeting on Monday “briefly” talked about joining the coalition government.

“The issue of joining the government or not was not an integral part of the meeting,” Hlaele said.
thepost however understands that it was the main agenda of the meeting.

Three months ago, Kabi confirmed that he had been offered some Cabinet seats to join the coalition government. He said he turned down the offer.

Majara Molupe

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