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PM Refuses to Re-open Parliament
18 September 2014



Prime Minister Tom Thabane will not re-open parliament as demanded by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), until a renegade army general is arrested and made to face justice, according to Thabo Thakalekoala, spokesperson for the prime minister.

Regional bloc SADC issued a communique after an emergency meeting Tuesday, demanding Thabane immediately open parliament in an effort to end political tensions, following sharp disagreement in the country’s first coalition government.

Re-opening of Lesotho’s parliament, SADC says, will enable the democratic process to progress. But, Thakalekoala says it is unlikely the prime minister will advise the king, who is head of state as well as the head of parliament, to re-open the legislature anytime soon.

“The prime minister cannot advise the king… to open parliament in view of the uncertain security situation prevailing in the country right now. The argument of the prime minister is that until the renegade general is brought to book, there is no way that parliament can be re-opened. The prime minister is insistent and adamant that we cannot open parliament until the security situation is brought under control,” said Thakalekoala.

“Before we re-open parliament leaders of all political parties in Lesotho have to sit down together, [they] have to agree on the agenda that the parliament will follow when it is reopened,” said Thakalekoala. “But, unfortunately, some leaders are not prepared to do that. So, right now, we are in a quagmire, we don’t know what will happen.”

Thakalekoala says the prime minister welcomes the regional bloc’s recommendation for early elections. He contends that snap elections could help end the stalemate in the government which he says has heightened tension in the country.

“The prime minister did not in any way act illegally when he prorogated parliament. It is within the right of the prime minister to make sure that he brings stability in government [and] the whole country,” said Thakalekoala. “One of the mechanisms that he can use when he realizes that his government is at stake is to prorogate or suspend parliament and that is not challengeable in any court of law in this land.

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