NEWS

Thabane Says The SADC Isn't Protecting Lesotho Exiles While There Were 'People Baying For Our Lives'

Tom Thabane said the regional bloc 'should not be deceived' into thinking their security was guaranteed.

20/02/2017 07:11 SAST | Updated 20/02/2017 08:01 SAST
Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

Former Lesotho prime minister Tom Thabane has reportedly slammed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) of neglecting him and the other two opposition leaders who returned from exile in South Africa.

According to Lesotho Times, Thabane said the regional bloc "should not be deceived" into thinking their security was guaranteed.

Thabane claimed that SADC had chosen not to provide the opposition leaders with security even though there were "people baying for our lives" in Lesotho.

Thabane, who is the leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), fled the country in May 2015, together with Basotho National Party leader Thesele Maseribane and Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader Keketso Rantso.

The trio claimed at that time that they feared for their lives.

They went back to Lesotho on Sunday last week after two years of self-imposed exile in South Africa.

SADC facilitator Cyril Ramaphosa was in the mountainous kingdom last week, and according to the report, he said the government had guaranteed the security of the leaders, adding that the regional bloc would be "firmly involved" in assisting the country implement reforms meant to bring about lasting peace and stability.

Lesotho plunged into a political crisis following the 2014 failed coup attempt by an army general.

The then army commander, Tlali Kamoli, who mounted a brief coup against Thabane, appeared to have launched a campaign to get rid of his [Thabane's] loyalists, reports said.

Thabane fired Kamoli as Lesotho Defence Force commander after the failed coup.

But following Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's victory in the tightly contested elections in February 2015, Kamoli was reinstated. Soon after Kamoli's reinstatement, a former army general Maaparankoe Mahao who was close to Thabane was killed by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) in his village home on the outskirts of Maseru.

The troops were said to have been linked to Kamoli.

This plunged the country into renewed political and security crisis. Thabane was then once again forced to flee the country, claiming he had been tipped off about a plot to kill him.

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