30 August 2014

Lesotho Military Effect Coup, SA Condemns It

Photo: Sarah Fretwell/UN
Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Pretoria — LESOTHO military has seized power from democratically elected Prime Minister Tom Thabane on Saturday, it has emerged.

The ousted prime minister, who is taking refugee in Pretoria confirmed on Saturday that the military had indeed seized power in a coup, which was widely condemned by neighbouring South Africa.

Thabane said: "I have been removed from control not by the people but by the armed forces, and that is illegal.

"I came into South Africa this morning (Saturday) and I will return as soon as my life is not in danger."

Reacting to the coup d'etat, South Africa said such military actions would not be accepted by the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Spokesman for the Department for International Relations and Cooperation, Clayson Monyela, said an unconstitutional change of government in Lesotho would not be tolerated by the region.

He said the South African Government had verified that the Lesotho Defence Force did take over the radio and TV stations, resulting in a total black out in broadcast.

"The Army has also taken over several police stations including the Police Headquarters. These activities of the Lesotho Defence Force have worryingly forced the constitutionally elected Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Dr Tom Thabane and the one of the leaders in the Coalition Government, Hon Thesile Maseribane to go in hiding.

"Although no one has claimed to have taken over government through the use of force, by all accounts the activities of the Lesotho Defence Force thus far bear the hallmarks of a coup d'état.

"In this regard, South African Government, consistent with the African Union position on unconstitutional change of government, wishes to reaffirm the AU position and warn that such unconstitutional change of government shall not be tolerated," Monyela said.

He said the South African Government would want the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force to order the Army to return to their barracks in order to allow the democratically elected Government of the Kingdom to carry on with its business.

"The South African Government is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to consult with SADC countries and the AU Commission. Further, the South African Government encourages the leaders of the Coalition Government to work together and implement the Namibia Declaration which was presented at the recent Victoria Falls SADC Summit.

"In this regard, South Africa in her capacity as the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security remain committed to assisting the leaders of the Coalition Government to find a lasting political solution to their current challenges," Monyela said.

He said the South Africa government condemned the military coup in strongest terms.

Although there were no clear reasons why the Lesotho military seized control of the country from the prime minister, sources told CAJ News that the military took control accusing the prime minister of not acting in the interest of the country in most of his business dealings.

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