Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

31 August 2014

Lesotho: Limbo in Lesotho - There Goes the Neighbourhood

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.

analysis

Whether there was or wasn't a coup in Lesotho this weekend, it's clear that the country is going through a dangerous political transition. And like it or not, given our unique geographical relationship, Lesotho's problems are South Africa's too.

We still don't know exactly what is going on in Maseru. The picturesque Basotho capital was rocked this weekend when the army raided police stations and barracks, confiscating weapons and killing at least one policeman in the process.

Thomas Thabane, Lesotho's prime minister, fled to South Africa and is calling it a coup; Lesotho's army, meanwhile, says it was just doing its job by preventing the police from arming a political group. But it's unclear whether the PM is welcome back in the country - and if he'd be safe should he choose to return.

Whatever you want to call it, it's clear that the military's intervention on Saturday is a sign that all is not well in the Mountain Kingdom, where the political elites have been at each other's throats ever since the run-up to the general election in 2012.

When no one secured a clear majority in that vote, an uncomfortable coalition government was formed, with...

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