Why Lesotho's Chief Theko is calling for an end to Thabane's tenure

The Chief Whip of Lesotho’s Upper House of Parliament - the Senate, who is also a senior and influential member of the College of Chiefs and the royal family - Chief Khoabane Theko, says the prime minister must be recalled for allowing his wife to usurp power unconstitutionally.

Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s wife Maesiah has been accused of causing a split in the governing All Basotho Convention (ABC) and interfering in Cabinet.

Following his interview reported by Lesotho Times newspaper, Chief Theko told Eyewitness News that Thabane was in breach of the Constitution by allowing an un-elected individual - in his wife - to exercise the powers given only to a prime minister by that Constitution.

Lesotho is a constitutional monarch whose head of state is the king, who exercises his powers only through the binding advice of the prime minister. The prime minister is the head of government and commander in chief of the army who must have simple majority support of the 120-seat National Assembly and is elected by it.

The prime minister has the singular power to advise the king to appoint and fire heads of the arms of government such as the chief justice, the president of the court of appeal, the commander of the army and ministers. However, it is an open secret that ministers are appointed and fired at the behest of the first lady.

Thabane became prime minister in 2017 after his party ABC, the Alliance of Democrats, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho formed a coalition that now has 69 seats and support from 1 opposition Member of Parliament who announced she was joining ABC and was expected to cross the floor.

He has said in public what many including constitutional law experts have said in private for months.

"Prime minister, step down... Or the opposition must propose a motion of no confidence, we as the Senate that is advisory have no role to play in his removal. But the people who put him there - the National Assembly - can do this job, he's been elected by the people, the country is least developed and he plays with power and cedes it to his wife"

Thabane's ABC has been at loggerheads since it went to executive committee elections in February. While he retained his position as leader, the conference elected a deputy leader he didn't want in National University of Lesotho vice-chancellor Professor Nqosa Mahao.

The old NEC had attempted to block Mahao from contesting on grounds that he was too new and didn't qualify, but his supporters took the party to court, and the NEC retaliated by attempting to expel him but failed.

Thabane called Mahao profanities at a party rally calling on supporters going to the conference not elect him, but they defied him.

Since the conference, the two NEC's have been fighting over control of the party and its offices, and several court cases have failed to unite the ABC. Instead, the two factions have been crisscrossing the country trying to get ordinary members on their side.

The first lady is accused of being behind this division which has also seen Thabane fallout with his son-in-law who supports Mahao and has been elected secretary general - Lebohang Hlaele. Immediately following the conference, Hlaele and another minister - Matebatso Doti were fired from their posts as ministers.

While the king doesn't have the power to remove the prime minister, Theko's voice could set in motion events that could bring an end to Thabane's tenure.

In February, 20 ABC MP’s expressed their displeasure in a memorandum that was supporting Mahao and should they support a motion of no confidence in Thabane, it would mean the coalition will be short of the 61 votes required to keep him in power.

Being part of a coalition of four parties means Thabane must consult the other three parties in making decisions, but he is allegedly neither consulting the coalition or his own party.

Chief Khoabane said Thabane has already ousted himself.

"Thabane does not go to office in government or the office of the party, everything is done from the state house with what we call a kitchen Cabinet"

But he is mindful that his detractors may say being the chief, he is ostracising the first lady for being a woman.

"I am a great advocate of rights of women, I have come out to say a girl can succeed as a chief, but that lady she has been on the TV pointing fingers and poking people, saying they are not performing. Who is she? And the prime minister was right behind her; she should stop interfering with the day-to-day running of the government"

Thabane’s spokesperson told Lesotho Times that the chief is the one overstepping his mark by telling politicians how to do their job.


This article first appeared on EWN : Why Lesotho's Chief Theko is calling for an end to Thabane's tenure


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Zondo expresses concern over state capture inquiry not completing its work

Zondo expresses concern over state capture inquiry not completing its work

The commission chair applied for an extension of the inquiry until the end of December this year.

Will Zuma appear before the Zondo commission this time?

Will Zuma appear before the Zondo commission this time?

The commission's legal team has applied for a summons for President Zuma to appear after he failed to do so last year saying he was ill, after he had requested a postponement to deal with his corruption case.

Matric class of 2019 achieves 81.3% pass rate

Matric class of 2019 achieves 81.3% pass rate

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the class of 2019 had breached the 80% threshold for the first time.

Umalusi approves 2019 matric exam results for release next week

Umalusi approves 2019 matric exam results for release next week

The 2019 NSC results will be announced on Tuesday 7 January, with individual results available at schools the following day.

Legality of JMPD impounding vehicles in question

Legality of JMPD impounding vehicles in question

Eyewitness News has seen a copy of a memo from the City of Joburg's head of legal Mogashoa in which he advises against impounding vehicles as it is illegal and therefore poses a risk of financial liability.

'Pay back the money': ANC calls for charges against DA & former MMC

'Pay back the money': ANC calls for charges against DA & former MMC

The ANC released documents in which former DA officials claimed Sheila Senkubuge was not a South African citizen in 2015 and possibly had fake identity documents.

Popular articles
'Extreme concerns' about coronavirus making landfall in Africa

'Extreme concerns' about coronavirus making landfall in Africa

The coronavirus has made landfall - and apart from obvious dangers, its effect on the Chinese economy will also hit Africa hard.

An Allan Gray advertisement hits home and a golf resort gets lost

An Allan Gray advertisement hits home and a golf resort gets lost

Andy Rice, branding and advertising expert, tells us what ads caught his fancy and which ones baffled him.

Why EY thinks it's time to start dropping SA’s corporate tax rate

Why EY thinks it's time to start dropping SA’s corporate tax rate

If the corporate tax rate in South Africa gets lowered, would it lead to higher tax collections?

Stats SA Council threatens to resign over lack of funding, frozen posts

Stats SA Council threatens to resign over lack of funding, frozen posts

''If there are no official statistics approved by the statistician general - at that point I think your rates agencies will just say Game Over.''

Gauteng Transport Department to offer taxi drivers advanced driving lessons

Gauteng Transport Department to offer taxi drivers advanced driving lessons

MEC Jacob Mamabolo says a pilot study with Putco buses on Moloto road and there has been some improvement.

'Are you abusing your wife?' Mamabolo asks Malema in Parly

'Are you abusing your wife?' Mamabolo asks Malema in Parly

Julius Malema was in full flight when he agreed to answer a question from ANC MP Boy Mamabolo.

Soweto Home of the Aged is in dire need of proper, regular maintenance - DA

Soweto Home of the Aged is in dire need of proper, regular maintenance - DA

Democratic Alliance Gauteng shadow MEC for social development Refiloe Ntsekhe has conducted an oversight inspection at the home.

Are power ships a sustainable solution to SA's electricity crisis?

Are power ships a sustainable solution to SA's electricity crisis?

Azania Mosaka speaks to Energize editor Roger Lilley to get his insights on this and whether it is a sustainable alternative.

Competition Commission announces car servicing and repair guidelines

Competition Commission announces car servicing and repair guidelines

Competition Commission head of communications Sipho Ngwema explains what they are trying to achieve with the guidelines.

Springboks named sports team of the year at 2020 Laureus Awards

Springboks named sports team of the year at 2020 Laureus Awards

Captain Siya Kolisi accepted the award at a ceremony in Berlin on Monday.