Lesotho Coalition Endures as South Africa Fears Army Buildup – Bloomberg

South Africa said it was concerned
about “unusual movements” of troops in the capital of
neighboring Lesotho as members of that nation’s government
agreed to continue their three-party coalition.

The government has “noted with grave concern the unusual
movements of the Lesotho Defence Force Units in the capital,
Maseru,” South Africa’s Department of International Relations
and Cooperation said yesterday in a statement. “The South
African government appeals to all the political leaders in the
Kingdom to refrain from any actions that may undermine peace,
security and stability in the country.”

The leaders of Lesotho’s three coalition parties plan to
review the agreement they signed when forming a government after
elections in May 2012, Thesele Maseribane, head of Basotho
National Party, told MoAfrika FM Radio in the capital, Maseru
yesterday. The revised document will be signed on June 25 and
submitted to the 15-nation Southern African Development
Community, he said.

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s press secretary
yesterday denied that a coup had taken place amid reports of a
military buildup in Maseru. South Africa reiterated the African
Union’s position that an “unconstitutional change” of
government would not be tolerated.

SADC Initiative

The South African government also noted SADC initiatives to
mediate Lesotho’s political challenges, after Deputy Prime
Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who is also leader of the Lesotho
Congress for Democracy, said last week that he was pulling out
of the coalition.

Lesotho supplies water to the South African industrial hub
of Gauteng and is an enclave within its bigger neighbor. The
country also earns foreign exchange from tourism and exports of
mohair and supplies labor to South African mines.

The former British protectorate, which won its independence
in 1966, has previously suffered military coups. South Africa’s
apartheid government backed an army takeover in 1986, before a
counter coup in 1991 enabled elections to be held in 1993.

In 1998, South Africa dispatched more than 600 troops to
the mountainous kingdom of 2 million people as part of a
regional effort to quell a mutiny by junior army officers. More
than 60 people were killed including South African soldiers.

“No neighboring country will be allowed to go the route of
instability,” Clayson Monyela, a South African government
spokesman, said in comments broadcast by Johannesburg’s Talk
Radio 702.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Rene Vollgraaff in Johannesburg at
rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net;
Mathabiso Ralengau in Johannesburg at
mralengau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Nasreen Seria at
nseria@bloomberg.net;
Antony Sguazzin at
asguazzin@bloomberg.net
Dylan Griffiths, John Bowker

Lesotho Coalition Endures as South Africa Fears Army Buildup – Bloomberg

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