Jean-Jacques Cornish

SA police still protecting Thabane in Maseru

South African police escorted Lesotho’s beleaguered Prime Minister Thomas Thabane home yesterday (Wednesday).

An aide says the South Africans are still guarding the premier at his official residence in the capital Maseru.

Lesotho’s military denies it mounted a coup against Thabane who heads a disintegrating coalition government.

Last Saturday, Thomas Thabane fled into South Africa, which entirely surrounds Lesotho, saying he feared for his life from soldiers who were searching for him.

In Pretoria on Monday he negotiated a roadmap with South African President Jacob Zuma designed to restore stability to the kingdom.

It required him going home and recalling parliament, that he’s suspended since June, where he’ll face a no confidence motion.

Thabane delayed his return by a day after Lesotho police said they couldn’t protect him.

The premier’s aide Samonyane Ntsekele says Thabane’s safe and working from his residence seeking to ensure General Maaparankoe Mahao replaces General Tlali Kamoli as head of the army.

Thabane maintains Kamoli staged Saturday’s attempted coup.

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community has sent an observer team to Lesotho. But it’s rebuffed Thabane’s call on them to deploy peacekeepers.

The South African military’s denies it’s involved in protecting Lesotho officials, adding that any deployment in the kingdom will require a request from the regional body.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.