MASERU – With Lesotho civil-society now finding its voice, below are a series of short dispatches I posted to my Facebook account.
MAY 26, 2015: In Lesotho, is something brewing at the grassroots – finally? After the Lesotho Council of NGOs rallying cry on May 21 for “rule of law” [SEE DISPATCH BELOW], yesterday, the other leading voice of Lesotho civil society, the Transformation Resource Centre, went one step further: pointing fingers.
The TRC press-release: “Condemnation of abductions, assassination plots and threats against courts of law by elements of the Lesotho Defence Force.” Moreover, the TRC states that it now has the ear of the International Criminal Court, but is calling on victims to produce concrete “evidence” in order to stop “these acts of terror, perpetrated by elements of the state.”
One Basotho analyst today helps me connect the dots: “Basotho are a patient nation, sometimes too patient.” But, “are slowly waking up to their rights.” Still no Lesotho government reaction, it seems. Meanwhile, will the Lesotho media now bravely turn watchdog, to dig deep and separate fact from fiction?
MAY 25, 2015: Just read a remarkable – and very BRAVE – May 21 statement from the Lesotho Council of NGOs “Democracy and Human Rights Commission.” At a time when some suggest it’s only a boy-who-cried-wolf opposition howling about threats of political-violence, the LCN speaks out about the “feeling of insecurity” in Lesotho, the lack of “rule of law”, the handling of LDF that jeopardizes “peace and security”, etc. LCN calls on all African, Western, international partners to “condemn any action” harming Lesotho’s “democracy and human-rights culture.” So, the question is: who will have the LCN’s back? Who – if anyone – will join their brave stance? Even defend Lesotho civil society, if needed, after sticking its neck out like this? Bravo, LCN.
MAY 24, 2015: The “Wow” factor in Lesotho. Sunday headline: “Thabane Reveals Murder Plot.” If it’s true? Wow! If the ousted Prime Minister is lying? Wow! Either way, ominous. If Thabane is telling the truth, makes a mockery of SADC talks to restore “peace and security” to Lesotho – via quick-fix elections. Coupled with Kamoli reinstatement and fresh charges against his LDF, the entire SADC mediation effort in Lesotho is now in flames. Or, if Thabane is lying: what does it say about the ill-health of Lesotho democracy that so many Basotho find his claim plausible? One Lesotho worker tells me today, “Eish! Thabane’s having hard times. People around him are dying like dogs. Now they’re after him.”
MAY 24, 2015: Lesotho Lt. Gen. Kamoli – accused of leading the Aug. 30 coup attempt – was reportedly re-installed by official government gazette on Friday, retroactive to Aug. 30. May wipe his slate clean. What about justice for the Lesotho cop killed that morning: Ramahloko? The theory goes, newly returned PM Mosisili and Kamoli share deep secrets. Now that Kamoli is back as Lesotho army chief, is he untouchable? More powerful than Mosisili? Meanwhile, following up on news that ousted PM Thabane fled into South Africa a second time on Thursday, I guess SA Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will NOT tout Lesotho “peace” as a career highlight: Dirco mum on reports ex-Lesotho PM fled to SA.
MAY 22, 2015: Is #Lesotho starting to unravel … again? First, the shooting death of a Basotho businessman close to the ousted ex-Premier Thabane and his ABC party – with whispers of army involvement. Then, the alleged “kidnappings” of Lesotho Defence Force soldiers by fellow army comrades. And now this, yesterday: Thabane, the new opposition leader, flees back to South Africa for a second time — claiming an assassination plot against him: http://news.yahoo.com/lesotho-opposition-leader-flees-claim…. Is it time yet for more #Ramaphosa–#SADC talks that ignore Political Violence in Lesotho?