Lesotho’s Senate on Tuesday limited powers of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to dissolve parliament and order new elections reported Africa News.
The latest constitutional amendments, passed by the 33-member Senate, prohibit current and future premiers from advising the king to dissolve parliament unless a majority of legislators support the move.
The new amendments seek to limit the power of prime ministers while giving parliament a more meaningful role in its own dissolution.
The move aims to pressurize Mr. Thabane to resign immediately as he has been implicated in the murder of his ex-wife Lipolelo Thabane three years ago. The two were involved in bitter divorce proceedings when Lipolelo was gunned down outside her home in Lesotho’s capital Maseru in June 2017, two days before her husband’s inauguration. The police have also charged his current wife, first lady Maesaiah Thabane, with the murder of Lipolelo.
The prime minister’s own party, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), and those of the ruling coalition are demanding his departure, but Thabane is still clinging to his post and has only promised to step down by the end of July.
In March, the Lesotho prime minister suspended the parliament for three months shortly after the lower house National Assembly passed a bill barring him from calling fresh elections if he loses a looming no-confidence vote. But, the country’s constitutional court soon overturned his decision.
On April 18, Thabane sent troops onto the streets of the capital Maseru for a day to “restore order”, accusing unnamed law enforcement agencies of undermining democracy. He claimed that some leaders in law enforcement were seeking to undermine democracy.
Last week, Lesotho’s coalition government and South African mediators released a joint statement saying Thabane’s departure should be graceful and that he should get what the statement described as a secure retirement. It remains unclear if Thabane would no longer face legal consequences for his alleged ties to his estranged wife’s murder.