Lesotho Premier Agrees to Return of Former Prime Minister

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Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili signed an agreement with exiled former premier Thomas Thabane promising him safe passage to return home.

In an agreement signed on Aug. 3 by the men, the Lesotho government agreed to provide secure housing to Thabane and assign security officers to protect him, according to a statement handed to reporters in the capital, Maseru, on Monday.

Thabane, who is the leader of All Basotho Convention, was prime minister until he fled to neighboring South Africa in August, saying the army had tried to overthrow him. He lost elections in March to Mosisili and then fled the country again.

The presence of Thabane and other exiled leaders in Lesotho’s political scene is critical for the proper functioning of democracy, according to the statement.

“It is therefore recognized that it’s in the best interest of the country that the political leaders return to Lesotho for them to fulfill political responsibilities,” according to the statement.

A group of soldiers detained on suspicion of planning the mutiny last year will face a court martial, Mosisili said at press briefing on Monday. The trial will detract from a commission of inquiry into insecurity being spearheaded by the Southern African Development Community, said the deputy leader of the Basotho National Party, Joang Molapo.

The southern African kingdom has a history of political instability and coup attempts. With a population of about two million, Lesotho earns foreign exchange from tourism and exports of mohair and is entirely surrounded by South Africa, whose mines it provides with labor.

— With assistance by Mathabiso Ralengau

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