Lesotho: Prime Minister Digs in His Heels

Prime Minister Tom Thabane (file photo).
analysis

Tom Thabane seems to be reneging on an agreement with South Africa that he would quit this week.

Embattled Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane has given notice that he's not ready to resign immediately, despite giving that impression to South African mediators, headed by ex-Cabinet minister Jeff Radebe.

The South African mediators say all the main Lesotho political and civic leaders agreed at a meeting with them on Monday that 80-year-old Thabane would step down by Friday this week, after the enactment of necessary legislation.

But Thabane told the Lesotho Times in an interview on Wednesday 22 April that people "that I don't report to" had no right to push him into retirement. His retirement was a domestic issue that would be discussed and decided by him and his children when the time was right, he said.

That seemed to be a dig at Radebe, President Cyril Ramaphosa's special envoy to Lesotho, who on Monday announced that various stakeholders including Thabane's own ABC party, his governing coalition partners, opposition parties, churches and civic organisations had unanimously agreed that Thabane should be allowed a "dignified, graceful and secure" retirement from office.

Though the agreement signed by Radebe and Lesotho Deputy Prime...

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