Disgruntled youths slam Radebe for meddling in Lesotho

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

DISGRUNTLED youths from various political parties have attacked South African special envoy, Jeff Radebe, for allegedly pressurising Prime Minister Thabane to resign.

The youths are drawn from Mr Thabane’s own All Basotho Convention (ABC), the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL), the Alliance of Democrats (AD), the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

It is however, not clear which sides of their faction-ridden parties the youths are speaking on behalf of. Their statement did not appear to have been mandated by their official youth league executives.

In the statement this week, they said Lesotho was a sovereign state and it was wrong for an outsider like Mr Radebe to push for Mr Thabane’s resignation.

This follows Mr Radebe’s recent announcement that Mr Thabane had agreed to step down after talks with various stakeholders including his own ABC party, other political parties, churches and civic organisations.

Mr Radebe first made the announcement after being dispatched to Lesotho by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on 19 April 2020 to negotiate an end to political instability here.

Tensions had been high after Mr Thabane’s 18 April 2020 deployment of soldiers around Maseru with express orders to deal with party rivals and other government officials who he accused of working to oust his government.

Mr Radebe subsequently announced on 20 April 2020 that Mr Thabane had agreed to step down and parliament would immediately begin processes to ensure that he retired with “dignity, grace and security”.

He repeated this on his subsequent visit to Lesotho a fortnight ago. On Monday Mr Thabane agreed to make way for a new government to be formed by the ABC and main opposition Democratic Congress (See page 2).

However, some disgruntled youths from various political parties feel Mr Thabane’s imminent departure has been forced on him by Mr Radebe.

“We have noted the discriminatory intervention of Mr Jeff Radebe and we are surprised as we don’t even know what capacity he is acting in since Justice Dikgang Moseneke is the one who was introduced to us in the absence of President Ramaphosa,” the youths said in a joint statement this week.

“What is even more surprising is the pressure that he (Mr Radebe) is exerting on His Majesty’s elected prime minister. We are of the feeling that the resignation of the prime Minister should be voluntary as he has already indicated his intention in July 2020.

“We are a sovereign state and it is wrong that people from outside can influence a change of government in Lesotho. We are appealing to Mr Radebe to allow Lesotho work on its own governance issues in terms of the laws of the land.”

The youths also dismissed the ABC-DC agreement to form a new government, saying the government could only be changed through elections or a successful no confidence in parliament.

They said the two parties did not enjoy enough support in parliament to form a new government. This is despite that even Mr Thabane and his ABC faction have thrown in the towel and accepted that a new government will be formed on 22 May 2020.

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