Breaking: Lesotho government collapses

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LESOTHO’S government collapsed on Monday after all four parties in the current coalition including Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) informed the speaker of parliament of their withdrawal from the governing coalition.

Parliament has been adjourned until 22 May 2020 to facilitate the smooth transfer of power to a new coalition government whose main partners will be Thabane’s own ABC party and the opposition Democratic Congress (DC).

Thabane will remain in charge until the transition to a new leader is completed. The ABC and the DC had already agreed on current Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro succeeding Thabane. They also agreed that he will be deputised by DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu.

The current coalition consists of the ABC, outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD), outgoing Communications Minister Thesele Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP) and outgoing Labour Minister Keketso Rantšo’s Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

The BNP and RCL had already pledged their support for the ABC-DC deal to form a new government. On Monday morning, the AD also announced its willingness to join the proposed new coalition. The collapse of the government brings to a premature end, Thabane’s tenure as he only came to power in June 2017 and elections were only due in 2022.

The collapse of the government follows more than a year of infighting within the ABC. Most ABC legislators had been calling for Thabane to step down for various reasons including his alleged failure to stop his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, from interfering with party and government business. They also wanted Thabane gone after he was implicated by the police in the murder of his former wife, Lipolelo, in June 2017.

Lipolelo was gunned down in the capital Maseru, just two days before Thabane was sworn in as prime minister.

 

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