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Bigwigs comprehensively beaten in polls

…Kabi, Letsosa, Moleleki all concede defeat… 

’Marafaele Mohloboli

SEVERAL political heavyweights, including All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi, Democratic Congress deputy leader, Motlalentoa Letsosa, and Basotho Action Party (BAP) leader, Nqosa Mahao, have fallen by the wayside in the historic 7 October polls.

Along with DC leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, who retained his Qhoali constituency seat, Mr Kabi and Professor Mahao were expected to pose the biggest threat to the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) and its leader’s election hopes. But the two were brushed aside in their own constituencies by lesser known RFP candidates. Competing in the Qeme constituency which he won in the previous 2017 elections, Mr Kabi polled 1877 votes to finish a distant second to the RFP’s little-known Sello Hakane who garnered 2560 votes.

In Koro-Koro, Prof Mahao polled 1390 votes to lose to the RFP’s Mahatunyana Abinyane who garnered 3214 votes.

Former Deputy Prime Ministers, Monyane Moleleki and Mothetjoa Metsing, also lost out as the relentless RFP juggernaut cruised to victory in the weekend elections.

Mr Moleleki, who leads the Alliance of Democrats (AD), polled a measly 152 votes to dismally lose to the RFP’s unheralded Malebaleba Joseph who garnered an impressive 3019 votes to clinch the Thaba Bosiu constituency. Another bigwig who fell by the wayside in Thaba Bosiu was the former incumbent, Thabo Sophonea. The outgoing Finance minister, who dumped the ABC at the 11th hour for Prof Mahao’s BAP, polled 1425 votes to surrender the constituency to Mr Joseph.

Mr Metsing was beaten in his Mahobong backyard by the RFP’s Seetsa Nkhethoa. The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader got 1414 votes while his RFP rival polled a massive 3530 votes.

Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, performed dismally in the Sempe constituency where he polled a measly 315 votes. 

THE outgoing Small Business Development Cooperatives and Marketing minister and BNP leader had a poor showing in the Sempe constituency where he lost to the National Independence Party (NIP)’s Lehlohonolo Mosoang. The winner garnered 1565 votes while Mr Mofomobe managed only 315 votes.

Tefo Mapesela (BPP)

FORMER minister Tefo Mapesela failed to win the Mokhotlong constituency after polling a measly 470 votes. He lost to the RFP’s Adontsi Letsema, who polled 2680 votes.

‘Maesaiah Thabane (ABC)

THE former First Lady also contested the Mokhotlong constituency and polled a paltry 190 votes.

Sam Rapapa (ABC)

THE ABC chairperson lost the Mosalemane constituency to his brother Professor Ntoi Rapapa, the AD’s deputy-leader. The former polled 387 votes to the latter’s 2345. The RFP came in second with 1003 votes.

Mohapi Mohapinyane (ABC)

THE former Energy minister of Energy failed to retain his Rothe constituency seat. He lost to RFP’s Phohleli Lebohang Simon who obtained 2199 votes. He got 1695 votes.

Elsewhere in the Likotsi, Maseru constituency, the RFP’s Itumeleng Rantsho polled 3429 votes to thrash former cabinet ministers Chalane Phori (ABC) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader, Keketso Rantšo, who polled pitiful 656 and 39 votes respectively.

Ms Rantšo had snuck into the previous parliament courtesy of a proportional representation (PR) seat, the only one given to her party after a poor showing in the 2017 elections. She had then used that one seat as bargaining chip to earn her place in former ABC leader, Thomas Thabane’s cabinet as Labour and Employment minister. She was later sent packing by Moeketsi Majoro who took over from Mr Thabane in May 2020. This time around it is highly unlikely that she will get a PR seat given her party’s worse showing in the weekend polls.

Most of the losing bigwigs did not answer their mobile phones when called for comment.

However, Messrs Moleleki and Letsosa conceded defeat. Both said the polls outcome reflected the will of the nation.

“We were eyeing Thaba-Phechela, Thaba-Putsoa, Tšoana-Makhulo, Pela-Ts’oeu and Mpharane. Along came the RFP and grabbed them right in front of our eyes but they did so in a fair manner. We are happy for them,” Mr Moleleki said.

He however, could not resist a jibe at the outgoing governing coalition which was led by the ABC and DC parties. He described the outgoing leaders as “crooks without a conscience” for allegedly looting about M6, 2 billion from the public purse. This was in reference to government funds which Auditor General, Monica Besetsa, said could not be accounted for in the 2020/21 financial year.

“Matekane has saved us from the clutches of those crooks without a conscience. They stole M6, 2 billion from the public for their own benefit and brought the government to its knees.”

Mr Moleleki, who deputised Mr Thabane in a short-lived coalition from June 2017 to May 2020, expressed his desire to forge a coalition with Mr Matekane.

“I’m extremely satisfied with the polls outcome. I see that they (RFP) are hovering between 60 and 62 seats. That says they will need a partner to help them sit comfortably (in power). We have a good relationship with them and I’m looking forward to that (coalition agreement),” Mr Moleleki said.

On his part, DC deputy leader and outgoing Home Affairs Minister Letsosa said he had accepted his loss as well as the RFP’s overall splendid showing as a reflection of the will of the people.

“Basotho have spoken and I have no problem with the results. This is what Basotho have decided and their choice of government should be respected. I don’t have any complaints pertaining to the outcome,” Mr Letsosa said.

While he did not answer his mobile phone, Mr Kabi nonetheless sent an audio message which sounded like a dirge to followers of his vanquished ABC.

“My dear ABC committee and all beloved party members, yesterday (7 October) we had a glimpse of what the election outcome might be for us,” Mr Kabi said in the widely circulated audio.

“What we saw yesterday, although not yet officially confirmed, gave us a sneak picture into today’s outcome. Things did not go as planned and that tells us that we are in a storm. You all are witnesses that we have tried our best. We had dreams and envisioned the type of Lesotho we wanted. We were moving towards fulfilling those dreams, but Basotho have spoken through their votes. I want us all to respect the voters’ wishes.

“Our dream was to take Lesotho to another level. But the people have decided to embark on that journey with another person (Matekane). I want to give them an opportunity to realise that wish.

Let there be no complaints. I’ve heard some people complaining that their names did not reflect on the voters’ roll. We should not find ourselves thinking something went wrong. Let us all accept defeat and that Basotho have spoken. We need to respect their decisions and give them an opportunity to purse their vision.

“Let’s go back to the drawing board. We have survived many storms and we will do it again. God has given us an opportunity to correct our mistakes. Let us fix ourselves. This is our chance to walk on a different journey and reach a certain destination as one. I stand here consoling you all. You have done your best and I have seen your unshakable dedication. I can’t fault you on anything. Let’s pick up all the broken pieces and move on. We shall overcome,” Mr Kabi said.