Thabane vows to regain control of army
PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has vowed to regain full control of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) before the 28 February 2015 parliamentary elections.
Addressing thousands of All Basotho Convention (ABC) supporters attending the party’s star rally at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday, the ABC leader, who is also Defence, Police and National Security minister, said some elements within the LDF continued to defy his authority but vowed to regain full control.
Relations between Dr Thabane and the LDF soured in August last year when he fired Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli as army commander.
However, Lt Gen Kamoli refused to step down, arguing the dismissal was illegal, arguing he remained in charge of the LDF despite Dr Thabane’s appoint- ment of Lt Gen Maaparankoe Mahao as the new commander.
Again, after Dr Thabane fled Lesotho on the night of 29 August 2014 and sought refuge in South Africa, the premier accused the army of trying to assassinate him in what he described as a putsch, further widening the rift between him and the LDF.
However, the premier told Sunday’s rally he was convinced that, with the help of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission in Lesotho, he would take full control of the LDF before the upcoming elections.
“Before the elections, I am going to have the army under my control and those who have hijacked and are abusing it will soon be no more.
We are still working on that issue with SADC, but I am confident we would have resolved it by the time we go for elections,” said Dr Thabane.
Dr Thabane also told the rally he continues to be under foreign bodyguards because of Lesotho’s “solidarity” with fellow SADC states, and also the strained relationship he has with the LDF.
“These men surrounding me today (referring to his SADC bodyguards) are here due to the African solidarity we share as SADC states and they will continue to be with me until I have gained full control of the army,” he said. an outrightoutrig majority.
Dr ThabaneTha told the packed Setsoto StadiumStad that: “Today we have been able to communicate with our people whow are attending the African Unio Union Summit in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia,Ethiop because of technology.
“It is be befitting that the ABC is the first to be part of such an important initiative we have entered into with Econet TelecomT Lesotho, because we are a progressive party,” said Dr Thabane.Thabane
“We arear stepping ahead as a party, when other politicians are concerned aboutab rhetoric on conquered territoriesterritorie and their return (Free State ProvinceP of South Africa, which some political parties are sayingsayin should be “returned” to LesothoLeso as the area was seized by thet Boers in the 19th century).tur We continue to make meaningfulme progress towards the betterment of the lives of our people, and not obsessses ourselves with making emptyem promises to the electorate.t
“We are going into this ele election ready to win it with an outright majority, hence all t this innovation to ensure we reach as many of our people as possible.
This website we are launching today will help us in this regard,” said Dr Thabane, to deafening applause from the massive crowd — probably the biggest to be seen at a campaign rally for the looming polls.
Meanwhile, ABC chairman, Motlohi Maliehe, said the launch of the mobile-phone and numbers starting with 65, was meant to help supporters easily connect with each other, and also raise funds for the party.
“Whenever you use the ABC mobile phone, you should know that there are some profits trickling into the party’s coffers.
The mobile number is also for the convenience of our members as they can easily connect and identify each other,” said Mr Maliehe.
Prime minister Thomas Thabane