Lesotho PM refuses to re-open Parliament

Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane said on Monday that he would not reopen the country’s Parliament, calling into question a South African-brokered peace deal which allowed him to return to the country after an attempted coup.

“This is not the time to re-open Parliament,” Thabane said to Agence France-Presse.

South African President Jacob Zuma will now travel to Maseru on Tuesday to try rescue the deal agreed just a week ago, diplomatic sources in Lesotho and South Africa said.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian last week, when asked whether he regretted suspending Parliament in June and taking decisions on his own instead of with his coalition partners, which contributed to the rising tensions in the country, Thabane said: “No, not at all. The processes that are unfolding now create a chance for all partners to negotiate better.”

“We are all sober now and it’s partly thanks to the suspension of Parliament.”

Thabane, who was escorted home by South African police and a delegation of politicians chosen by the government of South Africa last Tuesday, said he hoped to have his own country’s police and army returning to their duties of securing the country soon.

Although he failed to convince Zuma to send the South African National Defence Force to secure his leadership of Lesotho, he said he was satisfied that he was receiving assistance from South Africa. He also admitted to feeling much safer in the presence of South African Police Service and intelligence agency personnel.

Thabane fled to South Africa after an attempted coup at the end of August. – AFP, with additional reporting by Staff Reporter

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