SAM Rapapa has been brazen about his ambition to replace Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
When other MPs were coy to call on Thabane to step down Rapapa was in the camp bellowing for his exit. His camp joined forces with the opposition to pass a vote of no confidence against Thabane.
Were it not for Thabane’s political dexterity, aided in part by a seemingly sympathetic Speaker of Parliament, Rapapa would be the Prime Minister now.
Back then he had the support of the national executive committee of which he is chairman.
The opposition too was egging him on with promises of support. That however seems to have dramatically changed in recent weeks. The committee seems to have had a change of heart and has instead nominated Doti and Kabi. But Rapapa remains unfazed by this apparent snub.
He says he remains firmly in the race and still has the support of some MPs from both the ABC and possibly some in the opposition.
He is hoping that despite the nominations the party will “stick to the seniority order”.
By this he means that as the party’s chairman he is third in line to be Prime Minister.
His logic is that since the Prime Minister is retiring and his deputy, Professor Nqosa Mahao, is not in the running because he is not an MP, the chairman should take over.
“That hierarchy is clear,” he says.
Just how many ABC MPs share this view is not known. Nor is it possible to measure his support from the opposition MPs.
His timing could be his undoing. He seems to have alienated a lot of ABC MPs when he connived with the opposition during the proposed no confidence vote. The dynamics that necessitated his alliance with the opposition have changed in recent weeks.
By announcing his intentions to resign, Thabane has muffled the noise from the opposition and blunted their spears.
The battle is now within the ABC, most of whose MPs have not warmed up to Rapapa and are still furious with him for his deal with the opposition.
Yet Rapapa’s ambition remains alive.
He is quick to parade his credentials. And they are pretty impressive too.
He is a chartered accountant and has a Degree in Economics. He was the finance director of the Lesotho National Development Corporation for four years, before which he had spent eight years in a similar position at Loti Brick.