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Lesotho PM Tom Thabane’s pick for acting chief justice challenged

The secretary-general of Thabane’s All Basotho Convention party wrote to King Letsie III warning him not to act on the prime minister’s advice because he had already announced his intention to resign.

In this file photo taken on 31 May 2017 Lesotho political party All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Prime Minister Tom Thabane gives an interview to Agence France-Presse at his residence in Maseru. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - A plan by Lesotho’s embattled Prime Minister Tom Thabane to permanently appoint acting chief justice Maseforo Mahase is being challenged for the first time in the country’s history.

The secretary-general of Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party wrote to King Letsie III, warning him not to act on the prime minister’s advice because he had already announced his intention to resign and said Mahase was facing allegations of misconduct.

Factions of Thabane’s ABC party earlier said they were uniting, but cracks appeared to be showing. The party’s secretary-general Lebohang Hlaele and the faction that supported deputy leader Nqosa Mahao accused junior members of Thabane’s faction of forcing the prime minister to sign letters, including the suspension of the police commissioner.

Some told Eyewitness News that the appointment of the chief justice was no different.

Hlaele’s letter to the king warned the monarch that Lesotho was already going through turbulence and if Thabane was allowed to appoint Mahase - who had a pending case of judicial misconduct - that would be undermining the rule of law.