Tha­bane vows to re­gain con­trol of army

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

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

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