21 July 2017

Lesotho: Mosisili Won't Return to Power - Thabane

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has vowed that his predecessor, Pakalitha Mosisili will never return to power.

Dr Thabane who is also leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) said this while addressing a party rally in Masianokeng in the Maseru district early this week.

Dr Thabane also said an unnamed politician would be sent to prison if convicted for unspecified crimes committed while still in government.

The ABC leader was sworn in as premier last month in the wake of the 3 June elections where his party combined its 48 seats with those of the Alliance for Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) to bring them to 63, thus surpassing the 61 seat threshold required to form government.

Their four party coalition succeeded the previous seven parties' regime whose major parties were former Prime Minister Mosisili's Democratic Congress (DC) and former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing's Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD).

Addressing the Sunday rally, Dr Thabane recalled how the previous administration forced him to flee into exile in South Africa in 2015 along with BNP leader Thesele 'Maseribane and RCL leader Keketso Rantšo.

The trio fled after being alerted to alleged plots to assassinate them by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF). However, the LDF has consistently denied the allegations.

They eventually returned to Lesotho in February this year after protracted mediation efforts by the regional Southern Africa Development Community whose point person is South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"When SADC came here our peace was badly shaken," Dr Thabane said at the Sunday rally.

"Some of us decided to leave the country and this man from Qacha's Nek (Dr Mosisili) said we were running away from our own reflections, and I am afraid that he is gone for good and shall never rule again.

"And as for this other guy from this (Leribe) side, he is surely going to prison and it's not like I have anything bad against him but he is surely going to prison."

Dr Thabane said some politicians had the tendency of reckless statements without considering the consequent hurt they inflicted on other people.

He said Lesotho abided by the law and it was therefore imperative for the police to do their job and apprehend criminals.

"As I have allocated the ministries, I expect the Minister of Police to ensure that all criminal suspects appear in court and the judiciary hands down sentences as it sees fit so as to deter others."

He warned the ministers to deliver on their mandates, adding that he would not hesitate to reshuffle those who underperformed.

"We are going to work as a team and if for any reason a minister is underperforming I will not hesitate to reshuffle you and if you feel I am asking for too much the just resign."

Dr Thabane also said that government still had a lot to accomplish particularly in the eradication of poverty, diseases and ensuring good nutrition for all citizens.

He said ministers had to set the tone for civil servants to follow on service delivery.

"We need to pledge that we will not sit in the offices but instead we shall go out to the people and demand to know their needs and together find solutions."

He also urged legislators to go back to their respective constituencies and interact with the people whenever parliament was adjourned.

"The councilors and MPs should go and find youth who never obtained a decent education so that we help them and not accuse them over something their parents failed to give them due to poverty."

Thabane also took a swipe at those who voted for people who he said had failed dismally to bring the necessary development in the past.

Thabane also called the public not to make irresponsible comments or "predictions" on developments in the police administration, adding measures would be taken against those who continued to do.

"I am the Prime Minister and anyone who dares challenges me and predicts what is happening in the police administration will be interrogated."

His comments were made against the background of changes in the hierarchy of the Lesotho Mounted Police which have seen Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa being sent on a 90-day leave reportedly meant to ease him out of the post.

Commissioner Letsoepa was elevated to the position by the Dr Mosisili-led former government on 3 November 2015.

Other developments include the Dr Thabane-led administration's reversal of promotions that were made by the Mosisili regime.

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