Lesotho has been experiencing a new political predicament. Following the announcement of the Democratic Congress (DC) to secede from the seven-party coalition government, the country is under a minority government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
The DC announced its withdrawal from the government on Thursday 10th November 2016 and had called for the formation of a government of National Unity. The DC has also taken a decision to sit on the cross bench in Parliament and has written to the Speaker of Parliament to inform her of the new status. When asked by the Deputy leader of the Basotho National Party, Chief Joang Molapo about the position of DC in Parliament, the speaker failed to pronounce herself on the new arrangement. The speaker is believed to have taken a hostile stance about this new dispensation. Chief Molapo has since filed a motion of no confidence in the Deputy Speaker in what is thought to be a showdown of opposition and the DC in Parliament.
Dr Mosisili has however been suspended from his political party on the 17th November 2016 after he failed to appear before the NEC. This suspension follows what the NEC of DC terms misconduct on Mosisili’s part. Mosisili is suspended from the leadership of DC for minimum six months while his deputy Monyane Moleleki shall act on his behalf.
On the 18th November 2016, the Speaker of Parliament wrote to some opposition MPs including the exiled leaders of BNP Chief Thesele Maseribane, ABC’s Thomas Motsoahae Thabane and RCL’s Keketso Rands’s. The leaders of the opposition have since fled the country for security threats since May 2016 and have informed the Speaker of their situation consistently. After their fleeing the country into neighbouring South Africa, renegade army Commander Tlali Kamoli has been reinstated by Mosisili government, some soldiers have fled, and the then Army Commander Maaparankoe Mahao was assassinated.
Following the assassination of Mahao, SADC established a commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Maho’s death. SADC has in accordance with the findings and recommendation of the report urged Lesotho government to relief Kamoli of his duties, arrest and suspend army officials involved in Mahao’s death and other murders, facilitate the return of exiled leaders, give amnesty to soldiers suspected of mutiny and implement the constitutional, public sector and security reforms. Thus far, it was only announced that Kamoli should vacate his office on the 1st of December and all other aspects of the report have not been implemented.
The DC withdrawal from government stems out of the corrupt practices of some elements of the ruling coalition. The ousting of MPs is seen as reducing the numbers of votes in the important vote of no confidence in the PM and government. There are security intimidations to MPs, the DC faction not in favour of Prime Minister Mosisili and opposition members.
Text: Tseliso Lesenya