Virus-free Lesotho extends lockdown amid political showdown

With the expiration of an initial three-week nationwide lockdown, Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has extended the coronavirus prevention measure by another by two weeks.

The lockdown expired on Tuesday (April 21) but will now run till 5 May. Lesotho remains one of two African countries yet to record infections, the other being Comoros. PM Thabane said the extension will allow the government to prepare more and acquire specialised and protective equipment, according to AFP news agency.

Meanwhile a political crisis that has bedeviled the country continues to rage as of April 22. The Senate (Upper House of Parliament) is expected to hear a constitutional amendment passed by the national assembly to regulate powers of the embattled PM.

The amendment seeks to strip Prime Minister of powers to unilaterally dissolve parliament and call for elections when he loses a no confidence vote and also provides for an early retirement for Thabane.

The amendment brought by Popular Front for Democracy Leader Adv Lekhetho Rakuoane says: if the PM loses no confidence vote, he must resign. If that happens, the National Assembly elects a new PM failure for which the King appoints incumbent DPM as caretaker PM but up to 60 days.

Thabane’s headaches have been linked to the murder of his former wife back in 2017. Police insist that there is evidence that the current First Lady was responsible for the murder and that the PM was complicit.

A special envoy of the South African president deployed to mediate in the crisis announced this week that a dignified exit had been negotiated for the PM.