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Lesotho Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

This text is under preparation and will be published in March 2020.

2019

November

Ullexport is wreaking havoc in Parliament

November 29th

A lawsuit is erupting in Parliament because of a contentious law that gives a Chinese company a monopoly on the acquisition of the important export goods wool and mohair. Since 2018, the country's livestock breeders have had to sell these products to the Chinese company, which is criticized for paying too little or not at all for the goods. On this day, the government was expected to submit a proposal to abolish the forced sale. When that doesn't happen, the noise breaks out. The Minister of Agriculture and one of the opposition leaders are injured.

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Democracy and Human Rights of LesothoReform process gets praise

November 28

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visits Lesotho and expresses appreciation for the reform process underway in the country. The reform process was initiated by the regional cooperation organization SADC in 2015 following a number of politically-based acts of violence (see August 2015). During the unrest, Ramaphosa acted as mediator between the warring groups. Since then, a national dialogue on reforms has been ongoing in a number of areas with the support of SADC, the EU and the UN, but no reforms have yet been implemented.

No to the vote of no confidence

November 26th

The Speaker of Parliament rejects the motion for a vote of no confidence that rebellious members of the Allbasothian Convention (ABC) government party filed in early summer (see June 2019). According to the President, the motion has no basis in the law or practice in Parliament, partly because it was filed by a member of the ABC and not by the opposition.

September

The power struggle within the government party is stepping up

September 7

The faction within the ABC ruling party led by Deputy Party leader Nqosa Mahao and who ended up in conflict with Prime Minister Thabane calls for a special party meeting. At the meeting, it is decided that Thomas Thabane and his allies in the internal power struggle should be excluded from the party. In June, Thabane, for its part, decided to exclude Mahao and four others (see June 14, 2019). The decisions have no practical effect as they are ignored by both factions.

July

Famine threatens 700,000

July 26

Like other countries in southern Africa, Lesotho has been hit by drought and, according to the UN, the country is now facing the worst food crisis in several years. The UN estimates that at least 600,000 Lesothians will be dependent on food aid by the end of the year. The figure could rise to 700,000 before the next harvest in 2020, says a senior UN official. This means that almost every third Lesotho can be affected.

June

New battles within the ruling party

June 14

The Supreme Court affirms the election of the executive committee appointed by the ABC Congress in February. A majority of the seats were occupied by members critical of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. The result was questioned by Thabanes camp who took the matter to court. When the court now states that the election is valid, the new executive committee switches locks to the party headquarters, causing Thabane to declare the rebellious board members excluded from the party. However, the five refuse to comply with the decision and point out that Thabane did not comply with the provisions for provisions.

Internal rebellion against the Prime Minister

June 5

A member of the Allbasothian Convention (ABC) government party is filing a motion for no confidence vote in an attempt to oust Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. The motion is supported by the largest opposition party Democratic Congress (DC). No reasons are stated in the motion to dismiss Thabane, but party members have complained in the media, saying that he has given too much power to his wife Maesaiah Thabane (see August 18, 2018). Faithful adherents to Thabane have also boasted of criticism.

February

The leadership of the ruling party is taken over by critics

February 1st

The Allbasothian Convention (ABC) government holds congress and appoints a new executive committee. The division within the party becomes clear when a majority of the items go to people who are critical of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, including Professor Nqosa Mahao who is assigned to the post of Vice Party Leader. The outgoing executive committee claims that Mahao and the others cheated on the victory and refuses to resign. Three loyal MPs with Thabane appeal the election results to the Supreme Court.

January

The Prime Minister is aiming for a long career

January 28

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane announces that he is happy to continue as head of government until 2027 (assuming his party wins the 2022 election). If Thabane's plan becomes a reality, he will be 88 years old when he quits. The play is criticized by the opposition, who believe that Thabane should hand over to someone younger.


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