Country Risk

Lesotho faces elevated risk of military coup and contract reviews as PM’s position weakened

21 September 2018


Lesotho’s defence minister, Sentje Lebona, resigned on 14 September, highlighting tensions within the cabinet and mounting opposition to Prime Minister Tom Thabane from within his ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Motlohi Maliehe, Thabane’s ABC co-founder, is leading this challenge against the prime minister amid concerns that the 79-year-old leader is increasingly reliant on his 41-year-old wife Maesaiah Thabane, ABC secretary-general Samonyane Ntsekele, and his special envoy for China, Yan Xie. Maliehe, who has growing support within the ABC, has publicly accused Thabane’s wife of meddling in state contract allocations and dismissal of ministers. Thabane responded by removing Maliehe as tourism minister on 14 August and subsequently suspending him as ABC chair.

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