Lesotho army general denies seizing weapons
A Lesotho army general said to be in possession of a stockpile of weapons while in hiding in the country’s mountains has been seen at a meeting in Maseru, according to the SABC.
A news crew from the public broadcaster saw Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli attending a meeting in Lesotho’s capital. Kamoli reportedly told the broadcaster he was not in hiding.
He said he had never been in hiding and that he had not taken weapons from the Lesotho army’s armoury.
An SABC journalist tweeted three pictures of Kamoli, dressed in army clothing, attending the meeting.
Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday that rival Lesotho leaders had vowed to resolve an 11-day crisis that has spurred calls for regional military intervention in the country, after South Africa brokered talks.
The sparring factions reportedly agreed to hold further negotiations and to present a concrete date for reopening Lesotho’s Parliament to President Jacob Zuma on Friday.
“We had very frank and good kind of discussions,” AFP reported Zuma as saying after the three-hour meeting aimed at keeping a week-old peace deal alive.
“We’re just about to get there,” said Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane, who suspended Parliament in June and has struggled to preserve his coalition government.
Kamoli was accused of triggering the crisis on August 30, a day after Thabane asked him to step down from his post.
Kamoli allegedly attempted an early morning coup, including the botched abduction of Thabane and an assault on several police stations. Thabane fled to South Africa in the aftermath, but later returned.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday that serious discussions should take place about Lesotho becoming a part of South Africa.
“The developments in Lesotho are of concern,” general secretary Frans Baleni told reporters following a meeting of the union’s national office bearers in Johannesburg. He said a number of NUM members who are also citizens of Lesotho had urged the union to appeal to the authorities to bring about stability there.
In 1991, the NUM took a resolution that South Africa and Lesotho should seriously consider Lesotho being incorporated into South Africa, which completely surrounds it.
“That was 1991.
That dialogue is still taking place and we are still promoting that there must be dialogue,” Baleni said.
“Basothos must decide their future and South Africa obviously must decide how to take [this] process forward.” For now, it was important that stability return to Lesotho and that it revert to a democracy. “We cannot allow a situation where the army wants to run politics [in Lesotho],” Baleni said. –Sapa