Maseru – Lesotho’s Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and his deputy Mathibeli Mokhothu this week reassured SADC leaders that the government was not on the brink of collapse following the split in the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa dispatched a special envoy, Mr Jeff Radebe, to Lesotho this week. He was accompanied by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Candith Mashego-Dlamini, and Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa. The trio held a series of meetings with King Letsie III, PM Majoro, Deputy PM Mokhothu and other senior government officials.
The delegation also met various opposition leaders.
Regional leaders fear that the ABC split could have serious ramifications on implementation of 2016 SADC-brokered multi-sector reforms.
President Ramaphosa is the SADC-appointed facilitator in Lesotho, following a spate of coups and associated political unrest. He sent his team to Lesotho this week after consultations with President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.
The ABC split a fortnight ago when former deputy president Professor Nqosa Mahao left the party with nine legislators to form the Basotho Action Party. Two other legislators quit the ABC to form two other political parties. Prof Mahao says at least 11 more ABC representatives will be joining his new party, and he would then table a parliamentary no-confidence motion against the government.
A government sources this week said “due to Lesotho’s chronic instability, President Masisi and the SADC facilitator to Lesotho were worried about the potential impact of the ABC split and wanted their envoy to have face-to-face meetings with key political players to get assurances that this will not in any way derail the coalition government”.
For his part, PM Majoro’s spokesperson Mr Buta Moseme told the media this week that, “South African President Ramaphosa’s special envoy, Jeff Radebe, paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Majoro in Maseru on Monday.
“In his discussions with Mr Radebe, Dr Majoro said he was told that the purpose of the visit was to get an explanation on issues surrounding the political events that unfolded in the country in the past two weeks. This follows the formation of a new political party led by Professor Nqosa Mahao.
“Dr Majoro said he assured the envoy that government remains intact as he and his deputy had already assured the nation. He (Majoro) advised Mr Radebe to meet with Honourable Mokhothu for him to get the same assurance that the government remains intact.”
Mr Radebe told the South African media that: “We are concerned especially now with all those reform programmes that are under the auspices of SADC being facilitated by our former Deputy Chief Justice (Dikgang) Moseneke ahead of the general elections next year. So, I paid a courtesy visit to His Majesty the King. I also spoke with the prime minister and the deputy prime minister.”
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of Angola’s ruling MPLA, Mr Paulo Pombolo, this week met Tshwane’s ambassador in Luanda, Mr Oupa Monareng, to discuss socio-political developments in SADC.
The South African diplomat said they also discussed the terrorist attacks in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province, the COVID-19 situation in the region, as well as bilateral matters.