Lesotho PM not wanting to return for fear of being killed

BY CHARL BOSCH - SEPTEMBER 1, 2014

The Prime Minister of Lesotho has said that he will not return to the mountain kingdom as he fears for his life.

Thomas Thabane reportedly made the announcement yesterday after the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) staged an alleged coup on Saturday after the army took over police stations in the capital Maseru, confiscating police firearms, and jamming phone and radio signals.

“I have been removed from control not by the people but by the armed forces, and that is illegal,” said Thabane who fled to South Africa moments before his official residence was seized.

“I will return as soon as my life is not in danger... I will not go back to Lesotho to get killed.”

Thabane has accused LDF army commander and member of the coalition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, of being behind the coup, due to his (Thabane) anti-corruption stance.

A spokesperson for the LDF, Major Ntlele Ntoi, has denied Thabane statements, stating that the military wanted to prevent possible bloodshed after intelligence forces had discovered that police were planning on arming factions at a demonstration that had been planned for Monday. The event has since been called off.

“This issue of always alleging that the Lesotho defence force is mounting a coup d'etat is not a new thing,” Ntoi said, also adding that Kamoli has remained at his post.

“Even this time around, that is a baseless allegation,” Ntoi added.

On Sunday, an urgent meeting of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) was called by President Jacob Zuma with the aim of finding a solution to restore piece in Lesotho.

Relations between the coalition LCD, led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing – regarded as the main instigator behind the coup - and Thabane’s All Basotho Convention Party, have been described as fragile following formation after the 2012 elections, which led to the ousting of former Prime Minister and LCD member, Pakalitha Mosisili.

 

CAPTION: Lesotho Prime Minster, Thomas Thabane, here speaking at the United Nations' General Assembly on poverty eradication in Africa during September 2013, has blamed the country's defense force for Saturday's coup, a claim the defense  force denies. IMAGE sourced from www.un.org