MASERU — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili on Tuesday hinted at his retirement.
He told a press conference on Tuesday that he is not planning to hold on to power as head of government forever.
This is the second time within two years that Mosisili, who is aged 66, has hinted at leaving office.
In September 2009 Mosisili, who has been at the helm since 1998, publicly said he had ‘a little time’ remaining in power.
He said his ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) would discuss his retirement plans first before he goes public with it.
In both instances Mosisili did not specify when he planned to quit office.
On Tuesday Mosisili indicated that he would not lead Lesotho’s delegation to the fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in 2021 because he would not be prime minister by then.
Mosisili was addressing the media on his visit to the UN Convention of the LDCs in Turkey from May 9-13 and another state visit to Malaysia last week.
The UN Convention for poor countries is held after every 10 years.
“This was the last conference in which I led Lesotho’s delegation,” he said.
“Even if I develop a habit of holding on to power I am sure that I will not be prime minister by then.
“The reins would have been passed to someone else,” Mosisili said.
In September 2009 Mosisili said he did not want to be like some African leaders who held on to power for too long.
“I, Pakalitha Mosisili assure you that I do not have plans to cling to power for a long time,” he said then.
“I will not take 40 years like some African leaders who acquired power after military coups.”
Ironically Mosisili made the remarks soon after returning from Libya to celebrate Muammar Gadaffi’s 40th year in power.
Gadaffi, who came to power through a military coup in 1969, is now battling a revolt from his own people that could end his rule.
For the past three months he has waged a bloody fight against rebels who want him out.
Talk about Mosisili’s retirement has been muted within the LCD which is battling fierce factionalism.
Natural resources minister Monyane Moleleki and communications minister Mothetjoa Metsing are said to be leading factions that are battling to succeed Mosisili.
The two have in the past however vociferously denied leading any factions.
The tide has also turned against Mosisili with a group of LCD constituencies now calling for the removal of Mosisili and his entire national executive.
A hastily organised march by the party’s women and youth wings last month to buttress support for Mosisili only served to illustrate how split the party was after almost all members of the national executive committee boycotted it.
Mosisili has been Prime Minister since May 29, 1998 after an election whose results were bitterly contested and led to massive protests that left dozens dead.
The violent protests left Maseru and two other towns in ruins.
Under Mosisili’s leadership the LCD won majorities in the 2002 and 2007 elections.