31 August 2014

Zimbabwe: MDC Wants SADC Intervention in Lesotho

Photo: Aurecongroup
What's at stake for South Africa as the Basotho struggle to overcome their political differences - water from the Maluti Mountains for South Africa's industrial heartland.

A SMALLER faction of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube on Sunday called on SADC to intervene militarily to restore the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to power in Lesotho.

A spokesman of the party, Kurauone Chihwayi said the harassment and intimidation of civilians and the sitting Prime Minister is of major concern to SADC and social democrats in Africa.

"Military commanders in Lesotho should respect the constitutionally elected government of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and learn to use peaceful means in future disputes instead of resorting to violent means," Chihwayi said.

Thabane fled Lesotho in the early hours of Saturday following what he called was an attempt to harm him by the army.

The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) denies that it wanted to stage a coup.

It said it intervened to disarm civilians who were being given arms by the police ahead of streets protests by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and other opposition parties on Monday.

The LCD is in a coalition government with Thabane's All Basotho Convention Party. The party accuses Thabane of acting outside the spirit of the coalition by failing to consult them when making key decisions.

Matters came to a head on Saturday when the army stormed and seized the police headquarters in Maseru.

The MDC said in the interest of peace and stability the "commander of the Lesotho Defence forces should command the troops back to military barracks to avoid violent clashes with civilians".

"The MDC is urging partners in the Lesotho government to explore amicable ways of addressing their differences for the good of their own country," the party said.

Meanwhile, SADC foreign affairs ministers were meeting in Pretoria on Sunday to seek a way of addressing the political crisis.


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