Former Lesotho PM loyalist appointed defence minister

Lesotho's new prime minister, Moeketsi Majoro, unveiled his cabinet on Thursday.
Lesotho's new prime minister, Moeketsi Majoro, unveiled his cabinet on Thursday.
Image: IAEA/ DEAN CALMA

Lesotho's new prime minister, Moeketsi Majoro, unveiled his cabinet on Thursday, naming as his defence minister a loyalist of Thomas Thabane who quit amid allegations that he had conspired to murder his wife.

Majoro gave the key portfolio of defence and national security to Prince Maliehe, who was public works minister in Thabane's government.

In all, Majoro brought back four ministers from his predecessor's cabinet.

Police accuse Thabane of having a role in the June 2017 killing of his estranged wife.

The murder sent shockwaves through the tiny landlocked southern African kingdom.

In an apparent show of force, as pressure mounted on him to resign, Thabane last month deployed armed soldiers to the streets to “restore peace”.

Maliehe and 10 other former ministers supported that deployment.

Lesotho has a long history of instability.

Thabane survived a coup attempt in August 2014 that prompted him to flee to South Africa.

Two former army generals were assassinated in 2015 and 2017.

An ex-director at the Africa office of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who also served as finance minister under Thabane, Majoro was sworn in as the new premier on Wednesday.

He has appointed the former chief statistician, Thabo Sophonea, to replace him in the finance portfolio.

A former deputy finance minister, Matsepo Ramakoae, is the new foreign minister.


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