Lesotho parliament suspended amid coup fears

Neighbouring South Africa urges political leadership to find amicable solution after PM suspends parliament.

Tom Thabane, Lesotho's PM, suspended Parliament for nine months [Reuters]

The South African government has expressed concern over the unfolding political and security situation in neighbouring Lesotho after the suspension of the country’s parliament.

In a statementissued on Friday, the South African government “noted with grave concern the unusual movements of the Lesotho Defence Force Units in the capital, Maseru” and urged the country’s political leaders to “refrain from any actions that may undermine peace, security and stability in the country”.

“The South African Government wishes to reaffirm and reiterate the African Union’s position on the unconstitutional change of governments on the continent and in this regard the South African Government and SADC (South African Development Community) will not tolerate any unconstitutional change of government in the region and continent,” the department of international relations and cooperation said.

The latest developments in Lesotho comes a week after Tom Thabane, the country’s prime minister and leader of the All Basotho Congress (ABC), suspended the landlocked country’s parliament for nine months.

Reacting to the suspension, a junior partner in the coalition, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), threatened to pull out of the government, according to a report in the Lesotho Times.

The same newspaper reported that deputy prime minister Mothetjoa Metsing and leader of the LCD party was open to entering talks with other parties in a bid to form a new coalition that would exclude the All Basotho Congress.

On Thursday, ENCA reported that Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s international relations minister said South African were not sending troops, but were monitoring the situation carefully. 

Earlier in June, the LCD party was reported to have strongly criticised Thabane for acting unilaterally and ignoring his coalition partners.

The political pact was formed in June 2012 after elections in Lesotho had failed to produce a single party with a majority win of parliamentary seats.

Source: Al Jazeera