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Can Mahao inherit the Political legacy of Thabane?

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By: Theko Tlebere

The political landscape in Lesotho has taken another new turn, with the most voted political party in Lesotho All Basotho Convention (ABC) forming two splinter parties. Back in 2006 when the ABC was formed as a splinter party from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), many people never thought ABC would ever taste the cup of governance. The reason for that was because at the time LCD had dominated most constituency votes and Thabane did not hold any significant position in the ruling party at the time except for being one of the vibrant ministers. Now that Thabane is out of the picture, can Professor Nqosa Mahao with his new political party inherit the same legacy that Thabane ensured with ABC some fifteen years ago?

Today’s article was machinated by some similarities in the formation of both Thabane’s Party ABC in 2006 and Mahao’s Basotho Action Party (BAP) in 2021. Without twisting and making assumptions the elution is to look at some of the key factors that made Thabane iconic and how there is a resemblance in the current status quo with Mahao, I intend doing that by comparing and contrasting the age at which Thabane formed ABC, the age he took power and what transpired thereafter versus the age at which Mahao forms BAP and then predict the outcome based on what happened before. The idea is to make a small narration of how ABC was formed, by who and probably make a comparative analysis of the number of parliamentarians that crossed the floor with Thabane then. I further wish to make a critical analysis of some of the key players in the formation of the ABC, their role in the ABC today and how many stood the test of time. 

When the ABC was formed in October 2006, Thabane was a sixty seven (67) years old former minister who made waves in different government ministries. But his presence was felt mostly in his tenure as the Minister of Home Affairs and Public safety at the time. Apart from his ministerial accolades Thabane was feared or rather was regarded and hoped by a certain click in the LCD at the time as a stalwart who would deputise Pakalitha Mosisili  or even take over, probably because he was once the political advisor to the congress man in Lesotho Ntsu Mokhehle. I should accede to the fact that there may be other reasons why Thabane never made it into the National Executive of the LCD at the time, but all what I know is that despite his marvel  in government the party structures never acceded to his drum beat. Therefore it becomes very easy for me to conclude that Thabane was iconized at the time, because of his performance in government hence some seventeen (17) party gurus sympathised with him and felt he was the man and ended up crossing the floor with him to form ABC.

Now fast forward to today, when the BAP was formed in April 2021, Mahao was about to turn sixty four (64) years because his birthday is in May, and he was also a former minister who also made waves with his ‘Iveco’ in the Ministry of Justice, Law, Constitutional affairs and Human rights. Unlike Thabane Mahao quickly climbed the ladder of leadership in ABC after he was elected deputy leader in 2019 after a hotly contested poll. But he only got into office a year later after the leader Thabane together with his cronies did not accept him. During the fracas of fighting for office, Mahao became very iconic as most ABC supporters sympathised with him. Fifteen years down the line Mahao has formed his political party and nine parliamentarians from the ABC have munched the floor with him. At this point you should be able to see those inflicted similarities of how both leaders ascended into power, and therefore I will leave it to you to respond whether the political route Mahao is taking could lead him to the same political legacy Thabane has left or he will surpass it.

So far I have talked about at least two similar attributes that both Thabane of ABC and Mahao of BAP have in relation to how they became their party leaders and at what age. What I want my elitist readers to be very much aware of right now is that the age difference between the age of Thabane when he formed ABC is just a difference of three years to the age of Mahao when he formed BAP. Could it mean our Country is destined to be governed by old folks or there is no younger blood in the political helm? Also, will we not hear the same sentiments passed to Thabane today that he is old, passed to Mahao in the next few years when he turns seventy? I want to believe this age issue is a debate for another day, but it leaves my mind boggling if the political trends of BAP will not follow the same trends of ABC.

I shall stop here for now, but next week I will be making a not so personal dissection of the seventeen Members of Parliament (MPs) who crossed the floor with Thabane in 2006. Will surely indicate where they are politically, and how they stood and or fought Thabane in the last 15 years of ABC’s life. Will further juxtapose the now nine Mps one by one who have crossed the floor to form BAP with Mahao with the aim of divulging some of the conspiracy theories of ‘forming a political party today and never seeing it govern.’  The future is Now!

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