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.
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.