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Updated May 13, 2020

 

Lesotho Soldiers
Members of the Lesotho Defense Force seen in a street in Maseru on April 18, 2020. Lesotho’s embattled prime minister Tom Thabane announced he had sent troops into the streets to “restore order”, accusing unnamed law enforcement agencies of undermining democracy.

 

Lesotho’s ruling coalition government has collapsed after three of the four parties that comprised the coalition, including Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), notified the speaker of the national assembly that they would be withdrawing. The speaker, Sephiri Motanyane, accepted the dissolution of the government and adjourned the parliament until May 22, in order to give time for a new coalition government to organize itself.

 

Thabane had fully intended to hang on to power until the end of July.

 

The ABC and the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) will form the new coalition, but this agreement also has the support of at least eight other small parties. This decision by Lesotho’s political parties finally puts to bed a political crisis that erupted after Thabane was implicated in the murder of his estranged second wife, which occurred the night before his inauguration in 2017. The Lesothan political apparatus, including Thabane’s own party, had been demanding he step down for months after he suspended the police commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, in January after the commissioner had linked him to the murder.

Until he was forced out of office under pressure from his own political party, Thabane had fully intended to hang on to power until the end of July this year. The prime minister’s deployment of troops onto the streets of the capital Maseru, in April raised concerns over a possible attempt at another military coup, since the country had already gone through four since 1970, with the most recent one occurring in 2014.

 

 

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