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Expedite Thabane’s retirement: CCL

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) has appealed to the “relevant authorities” to expedite Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s retirement for the sake of his health and to relieve him of the “work pressure”.

The CCL also bemoaned the instability and infighting in the governing coalition, saying the country could be plunged into chaos by politicians fighting each other instead of uniting to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The governing four party coalition is teetering on the verge of collapse amid reports that Dr Thabane’s own All Basotho Convention (ABC) has inked a deal with opposition Democratic Congress (DC) and other smaller parties to form a new government which excludes Dr Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD).

Dr Thabane is on record saying he will retire at the end of July 2020 or earlier if his party chooses a successor. Last month the ABC voted for Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro to succeed him but the premier has not even acknowledged the development or said when he will finally go now that a successor has been identified.

On Friday, the CCL issued a statement calling upon “those responsible” to expedite the premier’s retirement. The CCL also appealed to the government not to be side-tracked from fighting COVID-19 by the bickering with the governing coalition.

Reverend Ishmael Mqathazane read out the CCL statement at a press conference in Maseru on Friday. Reverend Mqathazane said the CCL was shocked to learn of Dr Thabane’s renewed bid to get rid of Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli.

“We have previously advised the government that this is not the time to be fighting over power but this is a time to fight the coronavirus,” Reverend Mqathazane said on behalf of the CCL.

“We are aware of the divisions within the four-party government which are negatively impacting on progress in the implementation of the national reforms.

“We are shocked to learn that while we are busy trying to unite government, there was yet another attempt to expel the Commissioner of Police- a move which might destabilise other security agencies in Lesotho especially during this critical time when the world is fighting COVID-19.

“This nation will perish while we are busy fighting one another. We might even lose sponsors who are helping us fight this virus. We would really like to appeal to those responsible to help speed up the prime minister’s retirement as he had promised that he would even retire early provided that all is orderly.

“We are therefore appealing that he (Dr Thabane) be helped to retire early due to the work pressure, the coronavirus pandemic and his own health. We are also for the speedy reopening of parliament so that members of parliament can pass laws and the budget is approved.”

The Constitutional Court on Friday nullified the prorogation of parliament by Dr Thabane, saying the premier had acted irrationally without the approval of the head of state, His Majesty King Letsie III.

Dr Thabane had prorogued parliament from 20 March 2020 to 19 June 2020 citing the need to ban large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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