Goodbye Thabane!

Goodbye Thabane!

MASERU-PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has until Friday next week to leave office or risk a humiliating exit.
Thabane’s administration of four partners collapsed on Monday after the All Basotho Convention (ABC) announced that it was withdrawing from the ruling government.

The ABC and the Democratic Congress (DC) have sealed a deal that could see the formation of a government by Friday next week.
They are supported by eight other parties that will be part of a grand coalition of ten parties, Lesotho’s biggest governing alliance since the trend of coalitions started in 2012.

The smaller parties are yet to sign the agreement.
The Alliance of Democrats has been left in the cold.
Yesterday Speaker of Parliament Sephiri Motanyane informed the King that the government had collapsed. Constitutionally, the King is now waiting for Thabane to submit his resignation.

Thabane was expected to do that on Tuesday and yesterday but he didn’t.
There was speculation last night that he will make an announcement this morning but that could not be verified.

It however appears that even as his government had collapsed Thabane was still bent on bidding for more time.
Soon after the fall of his government on Monday, Thabane was one of the several political party leaders who went to the Speaker’s chambers to negotiate when Parliament will resume and form the next government.
Leaders who attended that meeting told thepost that although it was clear that he had lost power, Thabane tried to negotiate a two-week grace period. They said Thabane was insisting that he wants Parliament to resume on May 29.

Other political leaders were however pushing for May 22 and they eventually prevailed after some haggling.
“He kept saying he wants two weeks even when he no longer had a government,” said a leader who was part of the meeting with the Speaker.
With his government out of power, Thabane has run out of options.
He no longer has the leverage to push his retirement to the end of July as he had wanted.

He also cannot refuse to resign because that is constitutionally untenable.
Even if he hangs on until next Friday he will be merely buying time because Parliament will still force him out. In short, the game is up for Thabane.

The expectation is that before next Friday Thabane would have resigned and replaced by Dr Moeketsi Majoro, who was the finance minister until the government’s spectacular collapse on Monday.
But even when he is at his weakest, Thabane has kept the nation on tenterhooks.

Late last night Relebohile Moyeye, Thabane’s spokesperson, said the Prime Minister had not indicated when he will resign.
“There is nothing of that sort on my desk,” Moyeye said.
Those in his party, both friends and foes, were also in the dark.
But several sources indicated that the process of Thabane’s exit had started in earnest.

Others said he will be out by today while others said he could be out by tomorrow.
Still others speculated that he could draw this out for a few more days before the parliamentary session next Friday.
Meanwhile, the world is watching.

Yesterday the Ambassadors of the European Union and the United States and the High Commissioners of South Africa and the United Kingdom called for an orderly transition. In a joint statement the diplomats said the new government should “proceed as swiftly as possible”.
They said the government should focus on “addressing the main challenges ahead, notably the threat of Covid-19 and the implementation of the reforms agreed in last year’s National Dialogue”.

It is vital during the transition ahead that all those entrusted with government responsibility are especially attentive to maintaining the safety and security of citizens, supporting democratic processes, and preserving human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Staff Reporter

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