Africa-Press – Lesotho. Main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) leader Mathibeli Mokhothu, says only his party and the ABC are big enough to run for government, as the rest “just accompany us so that going to elections isn’t boring”.
Addressing his party’s faithful in Maliepetsane constituency at Mafeteng recently, Mokhothu said he could not be bothered to talk about smaller political parties which he labelled as “election nieces and nephews” and that “as such I will not be bothered to talk about them”.
According to Mokhothu, there were only five visible political parties on the ground, although in actual fact only the ABC and DC ruled the roost. “I will not talk about other political parties, especially those that never make an impact.
I will not focus much on such. I will only pretend to be looking at five political parties that are visible on the ground although in actual fact my focus is only on just two because there are only two political parties in Lesotho,” Mokhothu said.
“The rest just accompany us to the polls because without them the election process wouldn’t be exciting.
Mokhothu said this while energising his party’s base to “shake off the fatigue and dust” of the 2017 elections while preparing for elections that he said were on the horizon adding “you need to be strong and refreshed for the task”.
Mokhothu’s DC is in an alliance with small parties in parliament, including the Popular Front for Democracy (PDF) which has three seats, the National Independent Party (NIP) with one seat, and the Democratic Party of Lesotho (DPL) with one seat.
The three parties whose visibility Mokhothu referred to besides the ABC and DC, are probably the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) which has 14 seats in parliament, followed by the Alliance of Democrats (AD) with 11 and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) which has six seats.
The DC won 30 seats at the 2017 polls, only to lose its Semena constituency MP Tlohelang Aumane and Tele constituency MP Mothepu Mahapa to the AD, while the party’s MPs for the Lebakeng and Qacha’s Nek constituencies Semano Sekatle and his wife Dr Ponts’o Sekatle recently crossed to the ABC, which now has a total of fifty-three (53) MPs in the national assembly.
Mokhothu said his DC garnered 2993 in the Maliepetsane constituency at the 2017 polls, compared to ABC’s 3033, which is a difference of 40 votes, adding that “to this day I have not gotten over that loss”.
“BNP, on the other hand, got a mere 140 votes while MEC attained 368 votes and a meagre 82 votes. That’s why I said we shouldn’t focus much on such parties. My focus is on the difference between ABC and DC, which is a mere forty votes.
Eighty-year-old Thomas Thabane’s party won by only 40 votes and I am still aggrieved to this day”. PFD leader Adv. Lekhetho Rakuoane yesterday brushed off Mokhothu’s utterances as mere election political rhetoric, adding that because he was a politician himself, he could always return the favour when addressing his own base.
“I am not offended in the least. It’s normal political rhetoric. You are not the first journalist to ask me this. I can always return the favour when I address my own political party’s rally.
I also do say things about others when I play my politics, therefore I am not going to attack him for saying that.
It’s his political strategy of increasing his party’s votes. He’s fighting for his party’s survival. Like I said, I don’t see anything wrong there, hence I don’t take any offence.
NIP leader Kimetso Mathaba, on the other hand, said he would only worry about such utterances from Mokhothu “if it wasn’t the election” and “if there were squabbles within the opposition coalition”.
“When we are at rallies, we say things that with hindsight we wouldn’t.
It is true that when we are addressing political rallies, we sing all sorts of praises for our racehorses (political parties). It is to be expected,” Mathaba said.
However, I’d worry if there were problems within the opposition coalition. But so far things are just going smoothly. We all get along very well, so his statements should not in any way affect our alliance.”