Lesotho: New election date to be set

Lesotho political parties failed to reopen the Parliament and forced SADC to expedite elections.

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - In his new role as regional facilitator in Lesotho, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa heads for the mountain kingdom today.

His interaction with members of the coalition government and other political role players is aimed at finding a solution to Lesotho's political and security crisis

Lesotho's political leaders left the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Pretoria on Monday without naming a date for early election.

They couldn't agree on when to reassemble the suspended Parliament, so the elections scheduled for 2016 are being expedited.

Ramaphosa will be looking for the date for them.

He will also be arranging a deal with Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli to end his mutiny, which is undermining security in the mountain kingdom.

Sources say this will probably involve a cash payment and appointment to an ambassadorial post.

Political parties in the mountain kingdom failed to meet a Friday deadline for a fresh peace deal, prompting South Africa to call the meeting.

The regime was dragged into Lesotho's domestic political crisis when an apparent coup last month drove Prime Minister Thomas Thabane into exile in South Africa.

He went home promising to name a date for reassembling the Parliament he suspended in June.

The SADC summit said amid this crisis, the mandate on the disintegrating coalition would be shortened.

But a former military commander, who attempted a coup, still hasn't surrendered and it's understood he has been mobilising the country's special forces.