Lesotho Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, will not be attending the African Union’s (AU) Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government that starts in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Sunday.  Foreign Affairs Minister, Lesego Makgothi will lead the delegation.

Makgothi says claims that Thabane was advised against attending following allegations relating to the murder of his estranged wife Lipolelo Thabane, are baseless and unfounded.

Lipolelo Thabane was murdered in June 2017, two days before her husband’s inauguration.

Makgothi says there’s nothing untoward for the Prime Minister to skip the 33rd ordinary summit in Addis Ababa as he usually prioritises an extraordinary summit, being an alternate Chair of Peace and Security Council.

Makgothi says Lesotho will be going to AU maintaining a ‘firm neutral position’ to Morocco on Western Sahara Occupation. He says there are many African countries that have maintained a silent neutral position and continue to benefit on bilateral relations on Morocco.

Meanwhile, hundreds of delegates attending the opening of the summit have begun arriving at the continental body’s headquarters. Heavy security and traffic restrictions are maintained around the precinct.

Sunday’s opening session of the summit will see President Cyril Ramaphosa installed as the new AU Chair for the year.

Amongst the guests that will be attending the Opening Assembly is UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Canadian President Justin Trudeau.

The session will see the handover from outgoing chair, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el Sisis to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

High on the agenda will be the ongoing conflicts in South Sudan and Libya in line with the theme “Silencing the Guns”.

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