In Lesotho, Prime Minister Tom Thabane said he was firmly in control of the nation as he confirmed the shooting death of the defense force commander in an episode with echoes of the political power struggle of recent years.
Thabane held a press conference to discuss the Tuesday shooting of Lt. Gen. Khoantle Motsomotso, who witnesses say was shot by rival officers after they forced their way into the commander’s office and demanded to see him. Thabane identified the two as Tefo Hashatsi and Bulane Sechele, both lieutenant colonels who were in turn killed by security forces.
“I can assure you, the nation and everybody else that the situation until now is under control,” Thabane said, informing the tense southern African nation that its army was firmly under the hand of the acting commander.
Lesotho Times reported that Hashatsi and Sechele also were implicated in the 2015 death of the nation’s former military chief, Maaparankoe Mahao. The death of Mahao, who was politically aligned with Thabane, and an alleged 2014 coup attempt contributed to Thabane’s decision to leave Lesotho and live in South Africa for nearly two years.
Thabane returned just this February to again position himself as the leader who can bring stability to the troubled kingdom of some 2 million people. He has been prime minister since June, when elections were held following the March 1 no-confidence vote that removed Pakalitha Mosisili.
Thabane said he is in communication with the South African Development Community which, under South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa – himself currently a political target at home – has worked toward establishing a secure and democratically governed Lesotho. The SADC recently gave Lesotho a new November deadline for implementing agreed-upon reform targets.
Image: Thabane/All Basotho Convention file