11 October 2018

Lesotho: The Tangled Web of the Lesotho Wool War

analysis

A spiralling war between the Lesotho government and the country's 37,000 wool and mohair farmers took an alarming new turn last week with the arrest of their association's outspoken frontman.

Khotsang Moshoeshoe, 57, is reportedly facing charges of sedition and incitement for stoking resistance among growers to the government's forced closure of the country's wool shearing sheds.

His arrest came as producers were poised to launch a Constitutional Court case against the government -- after bringing their grievances to the notice of the South African Development Community (SADC) mission in Maseru.

Wool and mohair are among Lesotho's most important industries, with an annual turnover of more than R800-million. Many poor rural Basotho depend on it.

At issue are regulations issued in August 2018 that compel all the country's wool and mohair producers to cut ties with South African-based wool brokerage BKB and supply their product to a Lesotho-registered company run by Chinese businessman Guohui "Stone" Shi.

Growers are refusing to supply Guohui's company, Maseru Dawning.

They complain they were not consulted, insist that the wool is theirs and that they will...

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