Bongiwe Zihlangu MASERU — Former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili handed over the reins of government to new Prime Minister Thomas Thabane at an emotional ceremony on Friday. There was a rare but moving display of affection after Mosisili (67) handed the Lesotho Constitution to Thabane (73).
The two leaders embraced and then walked side by side amid wild cheers from more than 15 000 people who had thronged Setsoto Stadium.
It was the first time in the history of Lesotho that a prime minister has handed over power after losing an election.
To mark the defining moment, five military helicopters flew over the stadium, three of them hoisting the African Union (AU), Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and the Lesotho national flags.
Mosisili commended Thabane for his success of becoming Lesotho’s new premier adding that he was sure the All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader would succeed because he had “learnt from the mistakes committed by his predecessors”.
“You are a political veteran and that puts you in a good position to do right by this nation, because you have learnt from the mistakes of those who took the reins of governance before you,” Mosisili said.
Mosisili added that this was an historical moment for Lesotho because it was the first time that “reins of government power are being passed on to a coalition government”.
Thabane, on the other hand, thanked Mosisili for appointing him to his cabinet as minister in the past and equipping him with leadership skills to form his own party.
“Ntate Mosisili, you supported me as your minister and made me the man I am today. The ABC is a living testimony of your support,” Thabane said.
“I’m saying this because when I left you to form the ABC, it was because I had become my own man and knew that I could make it on my own. I know I can always lean on you.”
Thabane said although he might have harshly criticised Mosisili during the election campaign he meant no harm.
“It was simply a stunt for me to win elections,” he said.
“Ntate (Mosisili), what I said about you during election campaigns meant no harm. The truth of the matter is that you’ll always be my master.”
“Never cease, Mofokeng, in your quest to take Basotho to greener pastures.”