In effort to bring stability to the mountainous nation of Lesotho, Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosilili is said to have extended an olive branch to his political rival Tom Thabane.
According to sources in Lesotho, Mosilili has asked Thabane - who is currently on self-imposed exile in South Africa - to come back home and join the government as cabinet minister.
“He has also being assured that he will be given 24-hour security and bodyguards as well as some remuneration,” said the source.
Sources have revealed that one of the conditions for Thabane to join government is for him to drop his intention to appear before the SADC Commission of Inquiry, which is chaired by Botswana High Court Judge Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi.
The Commission of Inquiry established mainly to probe the killing of Lesotho's former army commander, Maaparankoe Mahao.
In a telephonic interview with The Patriot on Sunday, Thabane confirmed that Prime Minister Mosilili made an offer to him to come back home and join government as cabinet minister.
“Yes, he made the offer two weeks ago but he has to fulfill some conditions as I cannot rely only on his promises,” said Thabane. Asked what those conditions are, Thabane said that his relationship with the army commander Lt General Tlali Kamodi is not a rosy one.
“He once tried to assassinate me and I believe he still harbours those motives. I have asked Thabane to assure me that Kamoli will not be in the army but has failed to assure me,” said the soft-spoken former Lesotho Prime Minister.
It was Thabane’s decision in August last year to sack Kamoli and replace him with Mahao that led to an attempted coup, forcing Thabane to flee to South Africa.
Thabane said that he is ready to go back home and represent his people but cannot risk his life if the man who wants to fast track his journey to heaven is still in control of the army.
On whether he will appear before the SADC Commission, Thabane - who is also the leader of opposition - said that if necessary arrangements like security are in place he will go.
“Right now they have not yet communicated to me and I am not sure if I will appear before the commission,” said the President of All Basotho Convention Party (BCP).
Meanwhile, sources in Lesotho have revealed that on Tuesday government wanted to file urgent court application to bar Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Lesotho Defence Force Commander Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli from testifying.
Metsing was supposed to have appeared before the commission last week but failed to appear and asked for postponement to next week Monday (tomorrow).
The application was supposed to be filed on Thursday and forced South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the mediator in the Lesotho to fly to the country on Thursday.
“He met with Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and urged him to allow the inquiry process to go as well as urging him to encourage Metsing and General Kamoli to appear before the inquiry,” said a highly placed source in Lesotho.
On Friday General Kamoli agreed to appear before the inquiry, which is chaired by Botswana high Court judge Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi but on condition that it is on camera. Justice Phumaphi is said to have refused.
Kamoli was demoted by Thabane, who accused him of trying to topple him and replaced by the late Mahao. He was reinstated as the army commander by Mosilili after he won the elections early this year. At the time of going to press on Friday, he was still before the commission.
The SADC Commission on Lesotho crisis Terms of Reference are in 15 clauses that cover four main issues; investigations into alleged mutiny in the Lesotho Defence Force, the involvement of Maaparankoe Mahao in the alleged mutiny, claims that he resisted arrest and circumstances surrounding his death, the legality of appointment of Mahao and his demotion, the removal and re-appointment of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and claims that it caused divisions within the army.