Lesotho: Prime Minister Thabane’s Coalition Collapses, To Vacate Office On May 22

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government collapsed in parliament on Monday after his coalition partners pulled out, leaving him without enough seats to continue governing, the speaker said, reported Reuters.

Lesotho’s National Assembly Speaker Sephiri Motanyane made the announcement about the collapse of his governing majority in the Parliament saying that Thabane would have to step down by Friday, May 22, as his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party and two coalition parties have pulled back support for him. He added that the formation of a new administration in Lesotho could take two weeks.

“We have verified that the four-party coalition agreement has been terminated and there is a formation of a new government,” Motanyane said.

Prime Minister Thabane has been under pressure to resign from his post over a case in which he is suspected of conspiring to murder his former wife Lipolelo three years ago.

Thabane separated from Lipolelo in 2012. Their divorce proceedings were underway during the time when she was shot dead near her home in Maseru in June 2017.

 His current wife, Maesaiah, has also been charged in Lipolelo’s murder case. Thabane is yet to be formally charged. They both deny any involvement.

Sam Rapapa, deputy chairman of ABC, said all parties have chosen Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro to replace Thabane.

“Thabane is now a caretaker prime minister until May 22 when a new prime minister is sworn in,” Rapapa said.

Notably, in a pre-trial hearing, Thabane had argued for immunity from prosecution. But the coalition parties have confirmed that immunity from prosecution is not included in the deal to dissolve Thabane’s government.

“The prime minister’s prosecution … is not part of this deal at all, we are not even thinking of considering it,” Democratic Congress party spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa told Reuters in a telephonic interview. “It is not even within our scope and that is entirely with the courts of law.”

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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