Jean-Jacques Cornish

Thabane maintains his exile in South Africa

Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane scrapped plans to go home yesterday (Tuesday) as gunfire and power cuts ratcheted up tension in the capital Maseru overnight.
Thabane’s prolonged a brief exile in South Africa were he fled on Saturday saying a military coup had put his life in danger.

The roadmap  Lesotho’s  prime minister Thomas Thabane negotiated with President Jacob Zuma on Monday had him returning to the mountain kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa and calling parliament into session.
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Suspending the legislature since  June has severely strained the coalition government with the Lesotho Congress of Democrats who Thabane says is behind the apparent coup – something the LCD denies.
Zuma and other Southern African governments involved in the mediation have not heeded Thabane’s call for a regional  peacekeeping force to be deployed to Lesotho.
According to his aide, Thabane stayed in Johannesburg yesterday. He did not specify the reason for this. Neither did he say when the prime minister is going home.
A police source in Maseru advised Thabane against returning now, saying they don’t have the ability to protect him.
Fearing a power vacuum and further violence, the United States has ordered the families of its diplomats to leave Lesotho, in case land borders and airports are closed.
Lesotho’s stability is critical to South Africa. The kingdom’s highlands water scheme supplies  drinking water and electricity to Gauteng, South Africa’s economic heartland.

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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.