Former Lesotho prime minister flees to South Africa

A file photograph of former Lesotho prime minister Tom Thababe. (Reuters)

A file photograph of former Lesotho prime minister Tom Thababe. (Reuters)

Former Lesotho prime minister Thomas Thabane is looking to the South African government and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for protection after he fled the mountain kingdom in fear of his life. 

In Sandton, Johannesburg, on Tuesday morning, Thabane claimed that some within the Lesotho Defence Force were out to kill him and that his name was on a hit list. 

Thabane confirmed he had fled to South Africa following an assassination attempt. 

Thabane said he had discussed his concerns with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Deputy Minister of State Security Ellen Molekane on Monday this week. 

International relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela would not comment on the matter. 

Thabane was defeated in an election in February this year and is now the leader of opposition in Lesotho. This is the second time he has fled to South Africa. 

“We are not asking for political asylum. We are asking the South African authorities to clear the way for us to ask the Lesotho authorities to allow us to go back and do our work in peace,” he said.

Thabane and the leader of the Basotho National Party Thesele Maseribane—who also fled Lesotho—said they were confident that President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation would reach a deal for their safety. 

The pair have also called on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as chair of SADC to deal with their security concerns. 

Thabane said their request was simple: “We do not want the army protecting us. We want the Lesotho Mountain Police to ensure our safety.” 

Thabane said however when they requested police protection from Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, it had been denied. 

According to the Lesotho Constitution the army is responsible for the security of former prime ministers. 

“The security situation in Lesotho has collapsed,” Thabane claimed.

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