Lesotho: Thomas Thabane sworn in as Prime Minister
Lesotho Prime Minister., Thomas Thabane. PHOTO/File
Thomas Thabane was on Friday sworn in as the Prime Minister of Lesotho, after his coalition unseated former leader Pakalitha Mosisili in the tiny kingdom’s first peaceful transition.
“I am delighted and humbled at the same time to be prime minister. This election has indeed been a victory for Lesotho and not mine alone,” said the 72-year-old Thabane after taking the oath.
“My government will not be just for my party or the coalition alone but for every citizen of Lesotho,” he said at a stadium in the capital Maseru, referring to his countrymen in the native language Sotho.
Pakalitha Mosisili, prime minister for 14 years, accepted defeat this week after Thabane managed to forge the coalition after elections held almost two weeks ago.
Mosisili’s Democratic Congress party had the most seats with 48 while Thabane’s All Basotho Convention came second with 30. But Thabane managed to tap into anti-Mosisili sentiment among smaller parties to get a slim majority in the 120-seat parliament.
Since independence from Britain in 1966, Lesotho, entirely surrounded by South Africa, has undergone several military coups although the army and police told election monitors before the poll they would act professionally and not take sides. The capital on Friday was calm.
Unrest would have dented a US$4 billion economy, which is forecast to expand at 4 percent this year due to a boom in diamond mining and a recovery in the farming sector after serious flooding in 2011.
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