Lesotho’s new Prime Minister, Moeketsi Majoro, says one of his priorities is to ensure that the judiciary and security forces regain their independence.

Majoro took office this week after his party, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), pushed out octogenarian, Tom Thabane.

Lesotho struggled with instability and political infighting under Thabane with the former Prime Minister using the army for some of his battles.

The judiciary was also seen as taking political sides and supporting factions.

Majoro says a reform process has been launched to ensure that the country returns to the principle of the separation of powers, which is a key hallmark of democracies.

He took the oath of office on Wednesday at the King’s palace in front of dignitaries. His predecessor, 80-year-old Thabane attended the swearing-in ceremony, but his wife Maesaiah was conspicuously absent. They are both suspects in the murder of his former wife, Lipolelo, in 2017 after she reportedly refused him a divorce.

In a brief and highly limited attendance ceremony due to the COVID-19 restriction, an emotionally looking Majoro acknowledged that he was facing tough challenges. He now has to unite the two factions and restore the trust of the nation on politicians.

Lesotho’s politics are discussed in In the video below:

Tough road ahead  

Lesotho’s upheavals sometimes turn violent, and frequently suck in South Africa, whose central mountains surround its tiny neighbour. “It is going to be very difficult for (Majoro)…to unify the ABC because its members are still disgruntled and are going to fight,” independent analyst Lefu Thaela said.

Majoro, who has also served as planning minister and a university economics lecturer, is seen as a technocrat better at analysing economic data than soothing tensions between warring political factions.

“He has been part of the warring sides himself,” Limpho Tau, leader of the Democratic Congress party, told Reuters. “It is not going to be easy to satisfy everyone.”

COVID-19 in Lesotho

Majoro will have to also lead the country at a time where Africa is facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Lesotho has two cases so far.

A Lesotho national with recent travel history to South Africa earlier this month tested positive after five days of being in quarantine. The deceased is part of an influx of Basotho travellers returning home from South Africa.

The country’s Health Director, Nyane Letsie, has urged citizens not to panic and adhere to the hygiene and protective measures and regulations. The country has to date tested less than 300 people for COVID-19. – Additional reporting by Reuters

Below is the dashboard tracking global COVID-19 cases, death toll, recoveries and more: