South Africa’s special envoy to Lesotho and former Cabinet Minister, Jeff Radebe, has concluded consultations with officials in the mountain kingdom.
He says his delegation will now brief King Letsie the Third on the decisions reached. This follows recent developments in which both houses of parliament successfully passed the 9th Amendment Bill aimed at facilitating Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s retirement.
The envoy is in Lesotho on a follow-up consultative meeting to ensure that the process leading to Thabane’s retirement runs smoothly. Radebe says an announcement on Thabane’s retirement is possible within days.
“The real time-line is dependent on when the Attorney General and when the Speaker of the National Assembly transmit the information and document for the attention of His Majesty the King, which we expect to happen any minute from now.”
The South African National Defence Force’s General Solly Shope who is part of the delegation briefed the media.
“We are satisfied that when the King has assented to this Bill, it will pave the way for the Prime Minister to indicate his intention to vacate the office of the Prime Minister.”
Lesotho parliament moves closer to forcing PM Thabane out of office
80-year-old Thabane has been under pressure to resign over his first wife’s murder case, in which he and his current wife are suspected of involvement. They both deny the charges.
The case has divided Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party and triggered sporadic unrest.
“We are satisfied that when the King has assented to this Bill, it will pave the way for the Prime Minister to indicate his intention to vacate the office,” Radebe told journalists.
“As soon as His Majesty has assented to this Bill, the Prime Minister will indicate his intention to leave the office,” he added, without saying whether or not Thabane had agreed to do so.
Thabane’s previous wife, 58-year-old Lipolelo was gunned down on 14 June 2017. They were going through divorce proceedings at the time.
In 2020, police charged Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah, with the murder and also named the Prime Minister as a suspect. Thabane has not been charged in court and a decision on whether the Prime Minister can be tried while in office is yet to be made by Lesotho’s Constitutional Court.
In the video below, President Cyril Ramaphosa sends a delegation to Lesotho: