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Thabane demands safety guarantees

by Sunday Express
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Exiled leader of All Basotho Convention-ABC Thomas Motsoahae Thabane

’Marafaele Mohloboli

EXILED former premier and All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane says his and other opposition leaders return to Lesotho is contingent on “firm guarantees” on his safety.

Dr Thabane, as well as Thesele ‘Maseribane (Basotho National Party) and Keketso Rantšo (Reformed Congress of Lesotho) fled the country in May last year and sought refuge in South Africa after claiming some Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) members were plotting to assassinate them, a claim which the army denied.

Among their demands before returning home was the removal of then LDF commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli who subsequently retired on 1 December this year.

In an interview with the Sunday Express, Dr Thabane said the stage was being prepared for his return because “currently there is no government”.

He, however, said more needed to be done to guarantee their security especially by involving the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“If we just come home on the basis that Kamoli has left without involving SADC, we might have a serious problem,” he said.

“If we were to be given security tomorrow, we would come running in five minutes. Upon my return, I will be fighting for the destitute and oppressed so that everyone can live in a crime-free environment.”

He added: “If today we have people who even tell America to go, I guess it is because they have nothing to lose and do not know the pain of working in the factories and having relatives infected by HIV/AIDS.”

Dr Thabane’s comments were in reference to recent statements by various government supporters insinuating that America was meddling in Lesotho’s domestic affairs and infringing on its rights as a sovereign state by demanding the country fulfill the SADC Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations as a pre-condition for continued eligibility for free trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

“We need to join forces to do away with such people. This state of affairs is very worrisome hence the pact that we have signed with the Alliance of Democrats (AD) led by Ntate (Monyane) Moleleki so that Lesotho does not become a laughing stock among other nations. We have agreed to work together and we believe that we have the numbers that can make us be heard.

“He (Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili) should open parliament like he demanded I should do when I was still in government. His government is not better than any other. He toppled my government and we want to come home and vote in parliament to oust him,” Dr Thabane said.



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