All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) Members of Parliament (MPs) and National Executive Committee (NEC) members yesterday held a meeting in Maseru to discuss the plight of their leaders who fled to South Africa over the past two weeks.
The meeting took place at the BNP Centre and sought to chart the way forward after ABC leader Thomas Thabane, and his BNP and RCL counterparts Thesele ‘Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo fled to South Africa on 11, 13 and 26 May 2015 respectively, claiming they had uncovered a plot to kill them, allegedly by renegade members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
According to ABC sources who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity, yesterday’s meeting was a follow-up to another caucus the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) held with one of the exiled leaders last Friday in the Free State. The CCL allegedly wanted to see how best it could mediate in the three leaders’ return to Lesotho and also how they had uncovered the murder plots. The leader was said to have been given the go-ahead to attend the CCL meeting by the other two.
“The three leaders agreed to continue talks with the CCL but asked the council to give them a chance to talk with their MPs and NECs on how they would want their safety issue worked out,” the source said.
The source further indicated even though the trio had not yet met with South African President Jacob Zuma yet, they met with Southern African Development Community (SADC) representatives on Monday this week to table their concerns.
“I can’t give you names here, but only that Ntate Thabane, Morena ‘Maseribane and ‘M’e Keke met SADC officials on Monday this week and made it clear that they didn’t want foreign bodyguards when they return. They don’t want a situation like that of Ntate Thabane and Chief ‘Maseribane who came under South African security when they returned from exile in September last year, after fleeing the country again claiming there was a plot to assassinate them. What they simply want are the death threats and insults by the ruling party leaders to end.”
CCL spokesperson Peter Potjo confirmed the ecumenical organisation had an audience with one of the opposition leaders but would not reveal the name and place of the meeting—only that it was in the Free State Province in South Africa
“We met with one of the opposition leaders but I cannot mention the name, but only to say the meeting took place in the Free State in South Africa last Friday. The meeting was for discussing the way forward and how to bring the leaders home,” Mr Potjo said.
On his part, BNP spokesperson, Machesetsa Mofomobe yesterday said talks between opposition MPs and NECs would continue until their leaders return home unconditionally.
“We heard that the government wants to meet our leaders and talk about their return to Lesotho. In our joint-meeting today, we agreed that we want a guarantee that the three leaders would be safe in their home country. We don’t want verbal guarantees here because we are talking about people’s lives. We want concrete assurance,” Mr Mofomobe said.