THE Council of State meets tomorrow to discuss the fate of defiant Prime Minister Thomas Thabane who still has not resigned after the collapse of his government on Monday 11 May 2020.
Among other things, the Council of State is mandated by the constitution to advise the King on the appointment of a successor whenever a vacancy arises for the post of prime minister.
The post is vacant after the collapse of the government on Monday. It had been expected that Mr Thabane, who is now caretaker prime minister, would have submitted his resignation to the King to make way for the appointment of outgoing Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro.
Dr Majoro is expected to come in at the head of a new coalition comprising of Mr Thabane’s own All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC). However, Mr Thabane is refusing to go and insists that he should lead the new government. (See story on page 2).
Although the members of the Council of State were not reachable to confirm the meeting, the Sunday Express has it on good authority that the body will meet tomorrow to discuss Mr Thabane’s fate in light of the collapse of his government.
ABC deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao and his DC counterpart, Motlalentoa Letsosa, also told this publication that they were aware of the planned Council of State meeting tomorrow.
Prof Mahao yesterday said “the Council of State is meeting on Monday and it will advise itself on what has to happen (in light of Mr Thabane’s refusal to step down)”.
So far, the ABC has refrained from pursuing a no confidence vote against Mr Thabane as it believes that the collapse of the government means there is no need for a no confidence vote against the outgoing premier when he is effectively no longer in office.
Prof Mahao stopped short of confirming that his party will go the no confidence route if the Council of State did not advise King Letsie III to appoint Dr Majoro. He hinted at that possibility, saying the ABC “will take a cue” from the Council of State to decide the way forward.
Mr Letsosa said the DC expected the Council of State to fully apply its mind on the matter and solve the present challenge.
“I have been reliably informed that the Council of State is sitting on Monday and we expect it to save this country from this quagmire by doing the right thing. They should not do anyone any favours. A new coalition is already in place and they must follow the law.”
He said while the constitution allowed for a change of government to occur in parliament without going for elections, this was happening for the first time hence the need for the council to fully apply itself to the issue.
He said this would be the best time for Attorney General Haae Phoofolo to be asked serious questions about his legal opinion issued his legal opinion on 14 May 2020, saying Mr Thabane should lead the new coalition or be pushed out through a no confidence vote.
Adv Phoofolo is a member of the Council of State.
Mr Letsosa said ABC legislators loyal to Mr Thabane missed their chance to nominate him at their own caucus meeting on Monday. He said this would have enabled his party to vote between him and Dr Majoro.
However, it was now too late to do that since Dr Majoro’s name had already been submitted to the speaker of parliament, Sephiri Motanyane, for submission to the Council of State and King for appointment, he said.