Embattled Lesotho PM Thomas Thabane’s coalition collapses

Maseru
– The government of Lesotho’s embattled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane collapsed
on Monday after his coalition partners pulled out, and the formation of a new
administration could take two weeks, the speaker of parliament said.

Pressure has escalated on the
kingdom’s 80-year-old prime minister to resign early over allegations he had a
hand in the 2017 murder of his estranged wife.

Thabane’s own All Basotho
Convention (ABC and two coalition parties on Monday ended their support for
Thabane’s four-party coalition.

“We have verified by way of
reading these letters that the four-party coalition agreement has been
terminated,” National Assembly speaker Sephiri Motanyane said during a
brief parliamentary sitting.

As per the country’s
constitution, the speaker will inform King Letsie III of parliament’s intention
to form a new government and name a new premier.

That is likely to happen on 22 May,
according to the ABC party.

‘Caretaker prime minister’

“Thabane is now a caretaker
prime minister until May 22 when a new prime minister is sworn in,” ABC
deputy chairperson Sam Rapapa told AFP.

“A decision has been made
that…[Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro] is the new prime minister,” he
said.

Thabane had announced earlier
this year that he would retire by 31 July because of his old age. But his
rivals have been pushing to see him out earlier.

In
an apparent show of force, Thabane in April deployed troops onto the streets of
the capital Maseru for a day to “restore order”, after accusing
unnamed law enforcement agencies of undermining democracy.

Thabane and his previous wife
Lipolelo Thabane, 58, were going through a bitter divorce when she was gunned
down outside her home in the capital Maseru, just two days before her husband’s
inauguration in June 2017.

Police have since found Thabane’s
mobile number in communications records from the crime scene – prompting rivals
within the ABC to demand his immediate resignation.

Embattled Lesotho PM Thomas Thabane's coalition collapses