Month: December 2014

Lesotho major coalition parties embroiled in candidacy brawl

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Maseru – Two of the three Lesotho coalition government partners are embroiled in election candidacy brawl for the up-coming parliamentary election planned for February 28 2015.

The three parties, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) under Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Basotho National Party’s Thesele ’Maseribane, Minister of Sports and Gender formed a coalition administration after the May 2012 general election.

Lesotho's Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane
Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane

The country’s election has been prematurely scheduled after a breakdown in relations within the tripartite coalition government after Metsing’s dissatisfaction with Thabane’s manner of running of state affairs.

Now, the two partners ABC and LCD are yet to complete the list of their nominees for candidacy of the 2015 brought forward election from 2017.

“The list of the candidates for nomination for the forthcoming general election for the LCD is yet to be completed because in some instances there have been complaints while in others constituency approvals are yet to be made,” explained LCD Executive Director Mpiti Mosiuoa to newsline365.wordpress.com.

Mosiuoa said his party’s working committee was to scrutinize submitted names for election candidacy for approval by the executive committee, adding that in election in other constituencies would be held this weekend.

LCD has completed approval of its candidates in 70 constituencies while the ABC has approved 54 constituency candidates to stand for snap National Assembly election.

The ABC office Executive Director, ’Malehloka Raditapole, also told newsline365.wordpress.com today her party was yet to complete addressing some of the complaints regarding the candidacy in some of the party constituencies.

“Hopefully a full list of candidates will have been completed by next week,” said Raditapole, adding that some reports from the other constituencies were yet to be received by her office.

Next year’s national poll came after the SADC intervention that saw a signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration that among others, agreed on early election as measure to broker political stability in a troubled country.

 

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Lesotho’s Electoral Commission registers 21 parties for poll contest

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Maseru- Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is expecting 21 political parties and 15 independent candidates to battle it out in the February 28 2015 parliamentary elections.

As at December 24 2014, the IEC had a list of political parties’ and independent candidates’ election symbols which are to feature on the ballot papers in the legislative election brought forward from the 2017.

Among the political parties, four major players are the Democratic Congress (DC), All Basotho Convention (Abc), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP).

Featuring among the new entrants are the Progressive Democrats, the African Union Movement, Lesotho Congress of Democracy’s breakaway Reformed Congress of Lesotho and the White Horse Party.

A surprise entrant is also the Basotho Batho Democratic Congress whose leader Jeremane Ramathebane has come under the spotlight after facing charges of fraud through alleged misrepresentation when his party registered for the 2012 general poll.

The case is still pending in court.

According to the National Assembly General Elections Timetable for the forthcoming voting, the nomination forms for candidates is January 5-6 2015 while such names are to be submitted on January 7-9 2015 for posting of the constituency candidacy lists.

No breakthrough on Lesotho Correctional Service go slow

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Maseru – A laying down of tools by the Lesotho Correctional Service members aligned to the Correctional Service association has disrupted the judicial process in the magistrates court.

The information office of the Maseru Magistrate Court today told newsline365.wordpress.com that prisoners were not physically appearing in courts for remands saying the “practice is unusual.”

The office said that contrary to inmates being brought to court physically, the prison warders were only “bringing to court records of the accused who are to appear in court for remands.”

The warders go slow started on December 12 2014 in which they demand pay increase and improved working conditions.

Newsline365.wordpress.com observed today that visitors at the Maseru Correctional Service were barred from seeing their imprisoned relatives.

Newsline365.wordpress.com also learned that no new prisoners were being admitted at the institution.

The Minister of Justice, Motlohi Maliehe, has pleaded with the ‘striking’ staff members of the Correctional Service to “return to work” promising the government was attending to their demands through negotiations with service members.

In a statement released over the weekend, Maliehe said the members “were not doing their duties in a normal way.”

Among other duties which are negatively affected by the situation, Maliehe noted, are that relatives of the imprisoned persons are denied visits to the institution.

The go slow is reported to have been carried out in all the country’s ten correctional service institutions in the ten districts of Lesotho.

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MISA Lesotho to capacitate media in peace building and conflict reporting

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The Media Institute of Southern Africa Lesotho (MISA Lesotho) chapter has introduced media houses to the Peace Building and Conflict Reporting project in contribution to the holding of the national assembly elections set for 28th February, 2015.

The organisation’s project comprises of five-day training of journalists, especially political programme presenters, on Peace Building and Conflict Reporting. The training will be geared towards building the participant’s capacity in reporting that will contribute to peaceful holding of the elections.

At a meeting in Maseru this morning attended by ten media houses MISA Lesotho disclosed that other components of the project include a study tour to Rwanda to learn from the country’s experience on the contribution of the media in genocide.

MISA Lesotho meeting in Maseru this morning
MISA Lesotho meeting in Maseru this morning

MISA Lesotho also plans to coordinate election coverage using radio stations, newspapers, television and social media.

There will also be a media monitoring team whose duty will be to monitor media reportage before, during and after the elections.

The project is supported by Open Society Initiative in Southern Africa (OSISA) and United Nations Development Progamme (UNDP) Lesotho.

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Lesotho Congress for Democracy splits

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Maseru – A split within one of Lesotho’s ruling political parties, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), gave birth to Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).
Unveiled at a press conference on Friday, 19th December, 2014, RCL is set to contest next year’s February 28 general election and last night it held its first general conference to elect a new committee.
Member of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho at the rally in Maseru today
Member of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho at the rally in Maseru today
The founder of the party, Keketso Rants’o who was an erstwhile LCD Secretary General was elected the Leader deputised by Motloheloa Phooko while ‘Mamolula Ndabe took the position of secretary general with her deputy being ‘Mats’eliso Tuane.
Keketso Rant’so had been suspended from the LCD as the party Secretary General after a fall out in good relations with LCD leader and Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho Mothetjoa Metsing.
Phooko is also a Minister of Public Service while Ndabe and Tuane were LCD members in parliament.
The party conference was attended by 376 delegates from 49 constituencies and it was followed by a launch of its manifesto.

RCL delegate at the rally
RCL delegate at the rally
“Our manifesto is aligned to Lesotho Vision Twenty Twenty”, so said Phooko who was the Deputy Leader of LCD at RCL’s rally today in Maseru.

Phooko (In Black and green) addressing RCL rally today
Phooko (In Black and green) addressing RCL rally today

Lesotho police to take over security of Lesotho’s PM and cabinet minister

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Maseru – The Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) ELITE UNIT The Speicla Operations Unit (S.O.U) is to assume duties of guard to the Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his coalition government partner and minister of gender Thesele ’Maseribane.

This emerged at the Transformation Resource Centre’s (TRC) meeting yesterday during a discussion on the role of the army within the constitutional democracy presentation by the National Universtiy of Lesotho (NUL) Advocate Hoolo ’Nyane.

At the meeting the Assistant Commissioner of Police Lehloka Maphat’soe of the Interpol Bureau National Office told participants the SADC security deployment for the Lesotho head of government Thabane and executive cabinet member ’Maseribane was to be “passed over to the Lesotho police.”

He said the number of the SADC Troika security guards was being reduced “as from yesterday” and the security of the two dignitaries would be assumed by the Lesotho elite police unit.

He said relations between the army, Thabane and ‘Maseribane were still at a considerably low gear that in the current situation the army would nt be seen anywhere so near to the Prime Minister and Minister ’Maseribane.

Thabane, also leader of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) and his coalition administration partner ‘Maseribane of the Basotho National Party (BNP) were forced to skip the country to South Africa after the soldiers attacked their residences.

Since their return to Lesotho I a SADC brokered peace restoration, the two have been placed under the guard of the foreign forces with South African police taking the lead.

Lesotho political scientist sceptical about peace prospects on election

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Maseru – The National University of Lesotho (NUL)head of the department of Political Science, Dr Motlamelle Kapa has expressed skepticism about any prospects for restoration of peace after the February 2015 general election.

Deliberating on the topic ‘The Place of an Army in the Constitutional Democracy’ at the Friends Meeting organized by the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) yesterday, Dr Kapa said Lesotho was facing difficult times at the time it was forced to head for the snap general election.

He told participants that included principal chiefs, civil society organizations, faith based movements, academia and friends of the TRC, that the security situation in the country was not conducive to holding of peaceful election.

Dr Kapa wondered whether the mountain Kingdom needed an army saying such a debate should be a socially discussed matter across the all levels of the nation. That, he added, would dwell on whether there it was necessary to maintain an army or otherwise.

Added Dr Kapa: ”It is only in Lesotho where the army (command) behaves the way it has done, where someone refuses to go home when dismissed.’ This was in reference to Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s persistent refusal to leave the army when Prime Minister Thomas Thabane terminated his command within the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

He explained that the country was in such a bad state of political standing primarily due to poor economic status “for the fact that the economy is skewed on minority being wealthy” while a large population languished in poverty.

“So the politics in our country have become an industry generating employ. In addition, corruption is also at the root of Lesotho’s political instability,’ Dr Kapa remarked.

In his presentation, Advocate Hoolo ‘Nyane, a lecturer in NUL said the army should be placed under the civilian authority by popular will.

This, he warned, was due to the fact that Lesotho is a constitutional democracy although there has been a subjective political control of the army for many years.

“The army is the least democratic institution but there should be a high level of professionalism within the institution and subordination to civil control. There should be a recognition of the army as bestowed with professionalism and competency,” said Advocate ’Nyane.

Reminiscent of the August 30 2014 attack at the Lesotho Mounted Police Service installations in Maseru, Hoolo suggested that it was an operation by the army and was not sanctioned by the Prime Minister.

He said such events “illuminated a long standing problem of civil-military relations.” But, he added, there was hope that a resurgence of the constitutional rule in 1993 brought hope the relations could be smoothed for an “army that had ran amok.”

He observed that Lesotho’s political instability was highly influenced by politicians who consolidate their power through army control.

Yesterday’s TRC meeting comes at the time the country’s three security chiefs Lieutenant General Kamoli and Lieutenant Gneral Maaparankoe Mahao of the LDF and the Lesotho Mounted Police Commissioner Khothatso T’sooana signed a Security Accord to end the two agencies’ hostilities since August 39 2014.