Maseru, Lesotho – After barely a year in office, the Lesotho prime minister’s future hung in the balance Wednesday after an overnight split of his ruling party risked upsetting the parliamentary majority he needs to stay in power.
Moeketsi Majoro took power in May last year following the dramatic departure of his predecessor Thomas Thabane, who resigned amid allegations that he conspired to murder his wife in 2017.
A cabinet minister and deputy leader of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) Nqosa Mahao, announced on Wednesday that a formal and final decision to form a new party was reached Tuesday night.
To qualify to be a prime minister in the tiny kingdom of Lesotho, one’s party must enjoy a simple majority in parliament.
Mahao claims almost half of the ABC’s 47 lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament, are jumping ship to his new party.
“The split is more of a threat to him (Majoro),” warned National University of Lesotho political lecturer Tlohelang Letsie. His “premiership is really threatened and he is likely to go”.
An ex-director at the Africa office of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who also served as finance minister, Majoro was sworn in as the new premier on May 20 last year, vowing to “act” to “ensure we have a stable political system in Lesotho”.
But the 59-year-old premier’s looming ouster would be the latest chapter in Lesotho’s history of chronic political instability.
He would be the third prime minister in six years.
No premier has served out a full five-year term over the past decade in the small kingdom of 2.2 million people surrounded by South Africa.
Lesotho is one of the poorest countries in the southern African region and politicians are constantly fighting over small economy by constantly plotting and forming new governments.