EXCLUSIVE: I've been 'very safe' in SA, says Lesotho's exiled Tom Thabane

2017-02-11 10:30
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Cape Town – Lesotho's ex-prime minister Tom Thabane has described his stay in South Africa as "very safe", as he prepares to head back home on Sunday. 

Thabane is going back to Lesotho after two years of self-imposed exile in South Africa.

Speaking during an interview with News24, Thabane said he was treated fairly well during his stay in the southern African country. 

"I was very safe in South Africa, I was comfortable. No one even attacked me," he said.

He, however, said that he was not yet in a position to confirm whether he was moving back to his country permanently.  

"I have transported some of my belongings to Lesotho. However, we can never be certain on how long we are going to stay, we have to be prudent," he said. 

Huge risk

He also maintained that although the risk on his life was "still there", he wanted to find lasting solutions to the country's political instability.

"I am taking a huge risk by going back to Lesotho. The threat on my life is still there. However, politics is a risky business. You cannot try to take someone's position in leadership and expect them to sit down and do nothing," said Thabane.

Lesotho plunged into a political crisis following the 2014 failed coup attempt by an army general.

The then army commander, Tlali Kamoli, who mounted a brief coup against Thabane, appeared to have launched a campaign to get rid of his [Thabane's] loyalists, reports said.

Thabane fired Kamoli as Lesotho Defence Force commander after the failed coup.

But following Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's victory in the tightly contested elections in February 2015, Kamoli was reinstated. Soon after Kamoli's reinstatement, a former army general  Maaparankoe Mahao who was close to Thabane was killed by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) in his village home on the outskirts of Maseru. 

The troops were said to have been linked to Kamoli.

This plunged the country into renewed political and security crisis.  Thabane was then once again forced to flee the country, claiming he had been tipped off about a plot to kill him.

Agreement 

Thabane, who is the leader of all Basotho Convention, together with Basotho National Party leader Thesele Maseribane and Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader Keketso Rantso, fled the country in May 2015.

They all said they feared for their lives.

The three, at the time, vowed not to return until Kamoli, who consequently retired in December, was removed.

The latest development came after the Deputy leader of prime minister Mosisili's Democratic Congress party - Monyane Moleleki and 10 out of the 16 members of the NEC - announced on November 10 that they were withdrawing from the governing coalition, and that they were set to invite other parties to a grand coalition of national unity.

"We have signed an agreement to work with Moleleki in getting our country back into order. We are going to table a motion of no confidence against the current prime minister and form our coalition.

"However, we have other options at our disposal. We  can call for early election, but, elections are going to be costly so we want to form a grand coalition for the next three years ," said Thabane. 


Read more on:    tom thabane  |  sa  |  lesotho  |  southern africa

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