South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to make a “major announcement” today regarding Lesotho’s future.
Mr Ramaphosa was appointed Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator to Lesotho last month in the regional bloc’s efforts to find a lasting solution to the country’s political and security challenges, which have left the kingdom without a Parliament and functional government and an army whose commander has refused to vacate office despite being fired by his commander-in-chief two months ago.
After arriving in the country on Tuesday this week on the third leg of his tour as facilitator, Mr Ramaphosa is set to announce the date on which Parliament would reopen, its dissolution to allow the different political parties to prepare for an early election, and when the poll would be held.
According to sources who spoke to the Lesotho Times last night, Mr Ramaphosa would announce that Parliament, which Prime Minister Thomas Thabane suspended for nine months on 10 June 2014 to avoid a no-confidence vote, would reopen this month (October) and be dissolved next month, while the National Assembly election takes place in January 2015.
“Mr Ramaphosa met with all the political leaders in both the coalition government and opposition, after Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials had briefed him on their readiness to hold the election, and how much would be needed for the poll.
“According to Mr Rampahosa’s mandate from SADC, he is supposed to facilitate talks between the different political players in an effort to end the political and security challenges the country has been facing since Dr Thabane prorogued Parliament, and has been refusing to reopen citing security challenges.
“He has managed to meet all the relevant stakeholders, including His Majesty, and SADC observers who have been here assessing the situation for some time now, and would announce the roadmap to stability on Thursday (today) at Lesotho Sun Hotel at 2pm.”
The IEC Director of Elections, Mphasa Mokhochane yesterday confirmed meeting Mr Ramaphosa on Tuesday, but would not go into details of what they had discussed.
Political party leaders were also not willing to discuss Mr Ramaphosa’s next move when contacted by the Lesotho Times last night.
But according to the sources, Mr Ramaphosa would announce his roadmap on Thursday, which the parties are “more than likely” to accept “even if they might not totally agree with it.”