4 June 2012

Lesotho: Death Threats As Opposition Prepares for Power

Photo: ComSec
Among observers of the Lesotho elections were, from left, former heads of state Rupiah Banda of Zambia, Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi.

Cape Town — Lesotho's principal opposition leader appears on track to form a coalition government, setting the seal on the ousting of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili after 14 years in power.

Maseru's Sunday Express newspaper reports that Mosisili's Democratic Congress (DC), which holds 48 of the 120 seats in Parliament, has managed to recruit only one party, holding one seat, in its bid to form a coalition.

"Sources told this paper... that although the DC remains hopeful of picking more seats from some smaller parties, there is now a realisation within the party that its chances of remaining in government are very slim," the Express reported.

The new prime minister of Lesotho is thus likely to be Tom Thabane, a former foreign minister who is leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), which has 30 seats.

The Lesotho Times reports that the ABC, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD, with 26 seats) and the Basotho National Party (BNP, with five seats), have signed an agreement on a coalition, which would guarantee the grouping 61 seats.

The Times says the deal names Mothetjoa Metsing of the LCD as deputy prime minister. The LCD was in power until earlier this year, when Mosisili broke away from the party with most of its members of Parliament over a leadership dispute.

The BNP ruled the country for 20 years from independence in 1966, suspending the constitution in 1970 when it appeared to be losing the first post-independence election.

The Express also reported at the weekend that police had taken responsibility for the security of Thabane, Metsing and BNP leader Thesele 'Maseribane amid allegations of a plot to assassinate them.

'Maseribane reportedly said that police approached the three leaders to say "they are worried about our safety... they said that they had been directed by the commissioner of police to offer us voluntary security because our lives are in danger".

A police spokesperson, Masupha Masupha, told the Express: "The police want to find who the conspirators are and on whose behalf they are doing the dirty job."

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