Lesotho to reconvene parly, run elections – Ramaphosa

2014-10-02 17:44

Lesotho leaders have agreed to reconvene Parliament and hold elections two years early, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

During a press conference in Maseru that was live-streamed by South African television channels, Ramaphosa announced that leaders from Lesotho’s multi-party government have agreed to these measures to end a stalemate and insecurity which resulted after an attempted coup in August.

Ramaphosa was facilitating Lesotho’s peace process on behalf of a Southern African Development Community task team.

“His majesty King Letsie III will reconvene Parliament on the 17th of October 2014,” he said this afternoon.

“The sitting of the Parliament will be limited to passing of a budget and to do all other related matters regarding the holding of early elections.

“National general elections will be held towards the end of February 2015 and on a date that will be determined by his majesty the king,” he said.

The SADC mission, which includes “military people” and the police, will remain in place until after the elections.

In response to questions from journalists, Ramaphosa said the army and police should “desist from fights” between leaders and members.

“We want armies in the region and on the continent to be depoliticised to serve interests of the people, not parties,” he said.

It is, however, not clear what would happen to ousted army commander Tlali Kamoli, who drove the attempted coup and who is facing accusations of treason and violence.

Ramaphosa said SADC would assess its position after looking at Lesotho’s security situation as a whole.

Ramaphosa said there was “no need” to answer the question over who was the current head of the military.

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s appointment of Maaparankwe Mahau as army chief in Kamoli’s place was one of the factors that sparked the attempted coup.

Thabane fled to South Africa soon after.

Police are seen to be loyal to Thabane while sections of the military are allied to his political foes, who are part of Lesotho’s multi-party government.

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