Lesotho PM 'trying to avoid no-confidence vote'

2014-09-08 16:30
Lesotho's prime minister Tom Thabane. (File: AFP)

Lesotho's prime minister Tom Thabane. (File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Prime Minister Tom Thabane has postponed plans to reopen parliament in Lesotho, a government spokesperson  said on Monday, nine days after an alleged coup attempt.

Lesotho's three governing parties agreed a week ago in South Africa to lift a suspension of parliament ordered by Thabane to avoid a no-confidence vote in June.

The deal brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was seen as a first step to restore order after Thabane fled the country on 30 August, alleging a coup.

Parliament was due to reopen on 19 September, but the move has been postponed until it has been clarified who is in charge of the army, government spokesperson Ramakhula Ramakhula told dpa.

Analyst Marafaele Mohlodoli said the prime minister was thought to still be trying to avoid a no-confidence vote.

Army spokesperson Major Ntele Ntoi denied reports that Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli had seized weapons and fled to the mountains to prepare an insurgency.

False information

Kamoli "is still in his office" and remains the commander of the army, Ntoi told dpa, accusing Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao of spreading false information about Kamoli.

Thabane had sacked Kamoli and appointed Mahao to succeed him, allegedly over the army chief's support to the premier's deputy and political rival Mothetjoa Metsing.

Kamoli was thought to have ordered soldiers to seize weapons from police stations on 30 August and to surround the residence of Thabane, who fled to South Africa.

The army denies having attempted a coup and says it only wanted to prevent police from supplying weapons to some political factions.

Metsing, who has governed Lesotho in a shaky coalition with Thabane since 2012, has denied involvement in the alleged coup.

The mountain kingdom of two million residents has experienced frequent political unrest since independence from Britain in 1966.

Read more on:    sadc  |  tom thabane  |  lesotho  |  southern africa  |  coups

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