Lesotho Prime Minister Against Lifting Parliament Suspension

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Written by Makula Dunbar

Written by Peter Clottey | From Voice of America

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane will not re-open parliament as demanded by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), until a renegade army general is arrested and made to face justice, according to Thabo Thakalekoala, spokesperson for the prime minister.

Regional bloc SADC issued a communique after an emergency meeting Tuesday, demanding Thabane immediately open parliament in an effort to end political tensions, following sharp disagreement in the country’s first coalition government.

Re-opening of Lesotho’s parliament, SADC says, will enable the democratic process to progress. But, Thakalekoala says it is unlikely the prime minister will advise the king, who is head of state as well as the head of parliament, to re-open the legislature anytime soon.

“The prime minister cannot advise the king… to open parliament in view of the uncertain security situation prevailing in the country right now. The argument of the prime minister is that until the renegade general is brought to book, there is no way that parliament can be re-opened. The prime minister is insistent and adamant that we cannot open parliament until the security situation is brought under control,” said Thakalekoala.

“Before we re-open parliament leaders of all political parties in Lesotho have to sit down together, [they] have to agree on the agenda that the parliament will follow when it is reopened,” said Thakalekoala. “But, unfortunately, some leaders are not prepared to do that. So, right now, we are in a quagmire, we don’t know what will happen.”

The disagreement in the government led to an alleged attempt to overthrow Prime Minister Thabane’s administration.

Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, a former commander of the army, is accused of staging the alleged attempt to overthrow the coalition government. He is also suspected of having stolen weapons from Lesotho army’s armory. He is denying both charges.

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