The foreign minister of Lesotho is recovering from a weekend attack by unknown gunmen. On Sunday, Monyane Moleleki was attacked outside his home, just hours before Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was re-elected leader of the ruling party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).
Thabo Thakalekoala is an independent journalist and chairman of the Lesotho branch of the Media Institute of Southern Africa. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that the Lesotho mounted police say they have no motive and no clues as to who shot the foreign minister.
Thakalekoala says that has not prevented high-ranking members of the ruling party from giving their own views – off the record – to him and other reporters: “This attack [took place] at a very critical time in the history of the ruling party; when the shooting took place, the [foreign] minister was coming from the eighth annual general meeting of the ruling party, which was held about half a kilometer from his home. People in Maseru and other parts are beginning to connect the incident to the meeting, because prior to it, there were rumors that there was a lot of tension within the LCD. It was [said that that the prime minister had chosen Moleleke to be his successor and that] some disgruntled members did not want [him] to be the leader of the ruling party.”
Reporter Thabo Thakalekoala says the prime minister has denied naming any successor. He says party members have told him they also believe the minister of communications, science and technology, Tome Thabane, was also vying to lead the party.
Thakalekoala says a recent incident seems to indicate tensions within the LCD: “About two weeks ago, some members of the constituency of [Mr. Thabane], including his personal aide, were arrested on allegations that they were spreading false rumors about the prime minister and some members of his cabinet. Those who were arrested were charged and then released on bail pending trial in a court of law.”
Meanwhile, authorities say the investigation into Sunday’s shooting is continuing, and they have no information for the media – at least for the time being.