MASERU – Scenes of chaos ensued at the Lesotho national assembly this morning where the governing All Basotho Convention, ABC, announced that it had withdrawn from its own coalition government during the budget speech, in what is widely seen as an attempt to collapse the government, or force prime minister Moeketsi Majoro to step down.
The speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, read a letter from the ABC announcing its withdrawal as the leading party in the coalition government, but its members of parliament remained seated when Motanyane called on them to cross the floor.
The letter, written by secretary Leshoboro Mohlajoa, says the ABC caucus made the decision to withdraw at its sitting earlier in the day, and ABC MP Mahala Molapo told the house that the new leader, Nkaku Kabi, endorsed the decision.
Last month ABC elected Nkaku Kabi as its new leader to succeed founder, long time leader and former prime minister Tom Thabane. Kabi’s followers wanted to remove the sitting prime minister Moeketsi Majoro, who is also ABC deputy leader, to make way for Kabi.
Majoro has refused to step down, saying that only the National Assembly can decide if he stays or goes.
But Majoro appears to still enjoy support from ABC MP’s, and one of them, Motlohi Maliehe, stood up and announced that he didn’t know anything about the letter, and doesn’t support the withdrawal.
ABC MP and minister of communications, Tsuinyane Rapapa says MP’s didn’t cross the floor because none of them support the withdrawal.
Meanwhile the other party in the coalition, Democratic Congress, whose leader Mathibeli Mokhothu is deputy prime minister, says it’s still fully in support of Majoro and the coalition. Spokesperson and minister of mining, Serialong Qoo, says the coalition is stronger than before.
The budget speech was cut short while MP’s rose to sing while some nearly exchanged blows, until the speaker adjourned the house until Thursday.
Kabi’s ABC faction is yet to prove that it has the numbers to collapse the government.