Lesotho

Security forces sowing terror in Lesotho, Lawyers for Human Rights tells courts

Lawyers of yet another SADC country have turned to the courts for help with security force brutality against ordinary people in the community, carried out under cover of Covid-19 regulations. This time it is Lesotho Lawyers for Human Rights that is asking the high court’s constitutional panel to stop the security forces from torturing, killing and abusing people. The organisation also wants the court to order that all members of the security forces who have assaulted or tortured members of the public should be arrested and charged.

Read the founding papers

The shocking story told in the court papers begins with the declaration of emergency in Lesotho on 27 March to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Lesotho Defence Force and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service were both ordered to enforce the measures contained in the emergency provisions.

Suspension of Lesotho's parliament 'irrational', 'unlawful' - court

It was a transparent attempt to avoid a vote of no-confidence by parliament, hiding behind a claim to be protecting MPs from Covid-19. And now the controversial Prime Minister of Lesotho has had his come-uppance from the country’s high court which ruled his prorogation of parliament was invalid. Just another blow for the soon to be ex-PM, Thomas Thabane, a man under suspicion of involvement in the murder of his estranged second wife. Just how soon is far from clear, however, with defiant Thabane saying he will choose how and when to make his exit. 

Read the judgment

The latest drama in the increasingly sensational career of Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, began on the night of Friday 20 March when he issued a legal notice proclaiming that he had prorogued parliament.

Controversial Lesotho PM prorogues Parliament, gets taken to court

Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, has signed papers suspending parliament for three months. He cited the coronavirus pandemic to explain his decision. Ironically, a full-on legal application contesting the validity of his Covid-19-based decision, was heard in a virtually empty court due to steps aimed at containing spread of the disease. But the case also marked a significant step for the country’s broadcaster which, for the first time, carried a court hearing live on national television and radio.

 

When Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane wrote to King Letsie III on March 20, explaining why he wanted parliament to be suspended, he said it was a necessary part of the fight against the coronavirus.

He cited the World Health Organisation which advises against large gatherings to help avoid spread of the virus.

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