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Kabi praises Famo gangs for their “unwavering” support

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Moroke Sekoboto

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi, has showered the Terene faction of Famo music gangs with praise for its “unwavering loyalty” since his party’s formation in October 2006.

Mr Kabi told about 4 000 ABC supporters at a rally in Mechechane, Butha Buthe this week that if voted into power during the 7 October 2022 election, his government would support Famo artists so that they are able to make a living out of their music. He however, did not specify how his government would achieve this. Efforts to get comment from him this week were unsuccessful as he was not picking up calls.

But he told the rally that by assisting the musicians, he would be fulfilling former leader, Thomas Thabane’s wish that the party takes good care of the Terene faction because of its strong support.

“When Dr Thabane handed over power to me, he told me that one of ABC’s most special and important allies was the Terene. He said that I have to take care of them as they have always stood by the party.

“I understood and appreciated what he told me. Today, I pledge to take off from where Ntate Thabane left and continue to strengthen our bond with this group,” he said.

It was disappointing that Famo musicians had been overlooked by the country’s political leaders who failed to unite them, he said.

Mr Kabi said the Terene come from neglected areas thus many of them ended up joining the trek to South Africa to earn a living through illegal mining and other means.

“As ABC leader, I will work with Mr Lehlanya (Sarele Sello) and his team. They have been let down for many years by political leaders. The communities they come from are neglected. They don’t have proper schools to give them decent education from a young age. That is why they end up going to South Africa to earn a living.

“Some political leaders point fingers at them and call them terrorists, smugglers and many other names all because they are trying to find means of looking after their families,” he said. Mr Sello is the second-in-charge of the ABC-aligned Terene faction which is led by one Mokata Lirope.

The ABC’s dalliance with the gang is despite that they and their rivals have been implicated in rampant killings and other violent crimes in Lesotho and South Africa.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, a member of Mr Kabi’s ABC, is on record saying Famo gangsters had been classified by the government as “internal terrorists”.

However, this has not stopped the ABC from forging an alliance with the fearsome gang. The party often turns to the gang to help woo voters particularly during election campaigns.

Mr Kabi said that some political leaders were cowards who could not face up to the country’s challenges but feel comfortable to throw insults against their perceived enemies at rallies.

“To political leaders out there, I say let’s not insult one another. We must work hard to build schools in rural areas so that people there can access education like we did during our time. Our Famo musicians are all over South Africa because most of them did not get an education here at home.

“We still have leaders who label others terrorists for associating with the Famo gangs. We have to change that mindset. The ABC won’t let Basotho treat them (Famo members) as outcasts in their own home. We’ll stand by them,” he said.

The party was looking forward to the day when the Terene members would come back home from South Africa for good to live among fellow Basotho.

Mr Kabi said it was disappointing that the Famo gangs were being harassed by state security agencies, “and you find political leaders happy and laughing at this inhumane treatment during their rallies”.

“To security agencies who harass these people, bear in mind that you are harassing other Basotho who speak Sesotho like yourselves, who are expecting you to protect them,” he said.

Mr Kabi said an ABC government would invite investors to partner with Basotho to set up businesses.

It would also ensure that companies pay their workers decent salaries.

“There is an undesirable tendency by investors to prioritise profits and not paying their employees well. And when the government tries to engage them on this, they threaten to close operations.

“We will address this once you vote for us. Let me quickly add that we will not hesitate to bid farewell to foreign investors who are not willing to pay decent salaries,” he said.

An ABC government would help farmers boost agricultural production by providing them with seeds and fertilisers.

Mr Kabi said his desire was to see Basotho working on farms in South Africa come back and join government efforts to fight poverty.

“We are going to set up an agriculture bank to help farmers boost their production. We should be able to feed ourselves.”