Plot to oust Thabane thickens

Plot to oust Thabane thickens

MASERU – FOR Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his wife, these are troubled times and unrelenting vultures on the door are smelling blood.
First Lady ’Maesaiah Thabane’s failure to present herself to police to answer questions over the gunning down of her husband’s estranged wife is coming back to haunt the Prime Minister, whose rivals are now using the case to push for an end to his rule.

Police say the First Lady is a wanted woman after being implicated in the murder of the late First Lady, Lipolelo Thabane. The husband isn’t safe either.
Thabane has been fighting impeachment for a while now, with the opposition and some members of his own party led by his deputy in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) teaming up to try and drive him out. He has held on thus far, but the First Lady’s saga has provided fresh impetus to his rivals.

Opposition parties say Thabane should step down or face street protests. They are demanding that Parliament reconvenes so that they can push through with Thabane’s impeachment.
“For a long time, people have been suspicious of the First Lady,” said LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing. “We are embarrassed (by the actions of) the government,” he said.
Metsing is part of a grouping of opposition leaders that has coalesced with some ruling party officials to oust Thabane and have threatened crippling street protests if the Prime Minister does not leave office.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the official leader of the opposition Mathibeli Mokhothu said they are waiting for the reopening of Parliament to push their anti-Thabane agenda through.
Mokhothu said Parliament must be recalled to solve the crisis “with immediate effect”.

Parliament is expected to reconvene early February for budget reading and allocation.
If parliament is not reconvened earlier, the opposition intends to block the budget to force Thabane and his entire government to step down.
“They have failed the state,” Mathibeli said.

The press conference was attended by Mathibeli’s Democratic Congress (DC), Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Lekhetho Rakuoane’s Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), Tlhoriso Lekatsa’s Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Kimetso Mathaba’s National Independent Party (NIP) and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) of Selibe Mochoboroane.
Mathibeli said they are unhappy with the progress on murder cases, including that of Lipolelo Thabane, the slain estranged wife of the Prime Minister.

He said they are aware that Thabane was called in by police to clarify why his phone was used during the fatal shooting of his previous wife.
Current First Lady ’Maesaiah Thabane was also called for questioning but did not show up at the police headquarters, leading the police to declare her a wanted person.
Mokhothu said they are aware of people suspected of killing Lipolelo and they are stunned that the suspects are yet to be picked up for questioning.

The prime suspects in Lipolelo’s murder are the person who made a call and the one who received it, said Mokhothu.
He said the owner of the phone must be arrested. Thabane is the owner of the phone in question.
Mokhothu said attempts to dismiss police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli were linked to his unwavering pursuance of the case.

Thabane served Commissioner Molibeli with a letter of expulsion last week when the police boss asked him to explain the use of his phone at the crime scene where his wife was murdered.
Mokhothu also called for in-depth investigations into the assassination of army boss Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo in 2017.
He said the government seems not keen on probing the case, a development that enhances the call for Thabane to step down.

He argued that detained former army boss Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and other soldiers have been detained for about three years without prosecution, showing that Thabane had failed to deal with the case.
Lt Gen Kamoli and eight others are facing a plethora of charges that include the assassination of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao in 2015.
Mokhothu said the assault of police Senior Inspector Lerato Motseki by her own colleagues for no apparent reason was unacceptable.
“The order from Prime Minister Thomas Thabane that police should beat suspects was bad,” Mokhothu said.

Mokhothu said the manner in which the government is tampering with security institutions showed that Thabane was unfit for office.
The other issue is that of the Western Sahara, where Foreign Affairs Minister Lesego Makgothi reneged on Lesotho’s promise to support that country’s independence from coloniser, Morocco.
“Until today, the Prime Minister never said a thing about it,” he said, adding that Thabane should have taken action against Makgothi unless he was complicit.
At the same press conference, LCD leader Metsing said Lesotho is in a deep crisis.

“Some members in the coalition government already made it clear that they are no longer working together,” Metsing said.
He appealed to the coalition government to step down and allow “all leaders” to agree on a government that would pluck the country out of the crisis.
“We will do mass protests against the government if they do not step down,” Metsing said, adding that the opposition will use Parliament’s budget approval sitting to drive the point home.
“If they refuse to open parliament we will meet them there,” he said.

Metsing said investigations into the murder of Lipolelo had divided the coalition partners, with some claiming that Thabane did not inform them about his move to oust Commissioner Molibeli.
He said there are already signs that some members of the government no longer not have confidence in the Prime Minister.
“The fate (of this government) will be determined by Parliament, “ Metsing said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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