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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MASERU634
2006-12-29 13:05:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Maseru
Cable title:  

LESOTHO: FOREIGN MINISTER ON ELECTIONS, EXPULSION OF LIBYAN

Tags:  PREL PGOV PTER PINR OFDP ASEC KDEM LY LT 
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VZCZCXRO6597
OO RUEHRN
DE RUEHMR #0634/01 3631305
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O P 291305Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MASERU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2513
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0007
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 2854
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MASERU 000634 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PINR OFDP ASEC KDEM LY LT
SUBJECT: LESOTHO: FOREIGN MINISTER ON ELECTIONS, EXPULSION OF LIBYAN
ENVOY

REF: A) MASERU 621 AND PREVIOUS; B) STATE 202711

MASERU 00000634 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: W. Patrick Murphy, CDA, a.i., EXEC, DOS.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C) Summary: Foreign Minister Moleleki told Charge on
December 29 that he fully supports and welcomes USG-funded
election activities. He expects the political opposition will
have difficulty accepting elections results, because "they will
be lucky if they win only one or two seats." Moleleki signed
out former cabinet member Tom Thabane, leader of the new ABC
opposition party, as a supporter of political violence, but
allowed that it was "nearly impossible" to provide absolute
evidence. Moleleki said that he had ordered the expulsion of
the Libyan Ambassador for "funneling huge sums of money"
directly to the "criminal Thabane," including an attempted
delivery of roughly $150,000 in cash, but described the former
envoy as a "lone wolf" who had attempted to manipulate Lesotho
politics, but had not damaged Lesotho-Libya bilateral relations.
End Summary.

CONDOLENCES AND RESPECT


--------------------------





2. (U) Foreign Minister Moleleki, during a visit to the chancery
on December 29 to sign a condolence book for former President
Ford, met with the Charge for 45 minutes to exchange views on
recent developments. Moleleki, who said that he was a student
in Moscow during the Ford Administration, observed that "like
President Nixon before him, President Ford was greatly admired
overseas, perhaps much more so that at home."

WASHINGTON TRIP: "GET THE COMPACT"


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) FM Moleleki said that he had come to the chancery
directly from a meeting with Prime Minister Mosisili, whom he
had briefed on his recent trip to Washington to seek progress on
achieving a compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation
(MCC). Moleleki apologized for not giving the Embassy advance
notice of his Washington visit, explaining that the Prime
Minister had convoked him on December 10 (as the FM arrived at
the airport from a Sudan trip) and instructed him to fly
immediately to the United States to join the Minister of Finance
in undertaking all efforts to achieve a compact signing as soon
as possible.

ELECTIONS: "WE WILL MOP THE FLOOR (WITH THE OPPOSITION)"


--------------------------



--------------------------




--------------------------





4. (SBU) Charge, noting that Moleleki had discussed election
issues with A/S Frazer in Washington (ref B), briefed the FM on
election activities planned, or already underway, with the
USG-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI). Moleleki said
he was particularly pleased to hear about a proposed candidate
debate, a pre-election assessment mission planned in January,
and post-election reform proposals.



5. (C) Moleleki opined that the political opposition would have
a difficult time accepting election results, predicting that the
All Basotho Convention (ABC), led by former cabinet member Tom
Thabane, would be "lucky if they win one or two constituencies
(out of 80 directly-elected parliamentary seats)." The FM
suggested that if the opposition (a total of 18 parties) formed
a broad alliance, it could compete more evenly with his
governing LCD. "They are incapable, however, of joining
together in a coalition, " Moleleki added, "so I predict we will
mop the floor with them."

VIOLENCE AND THE LIBYAN CONNECTION


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) Moleleki said that he hoped the NDI, and other NGOs
working on elections, would inform Thabane, as well as other
leading opposition figures, "that their clear support for
violence, including assassination attempts against me and the
Minister of Trade, is wholly unacceptable." Charge noted that
if there was solid evidence of such support, the GOL should be
more transparent and forthcoming with results of investigations.
Moleleki responded that it was nearly impossible to provide
absolute evidence, highlighting the investigative shortcomings
of the Lesotho police. He emphasized that "there is no doubt
that Thabane has threatened the use of violence if election
results are not to his liking."



7. (C) Expanding on his accusations against the ABC leader,
Moleleki said that he had ordered the expulsion of the Libyan
Ambassador in mid-December (ref A) because the Libyan had been
"funneling huge sums of money" directly to the "criminal

MASERU 00000634 002.2 OF 002


Thabane." He said that the "final straw" occurred when GOL
immigration authorities recently discovered a Libyan Embassy
courier arriving at the Maseru airport with over one million
Maluti (roughly $150,000) in cash. "We could not arrest him due
to diplomatic immunity," said Moleleki, "but that was one
delivery too much."



8. (C) The Foreign Minister demurred on whether the Libyan cash
was actually delivered to Thabane, but claimed that previous
payments had reached the former minister. Moleleki said that he
had been in regular touch with the Libyan Foreign Minister on
the matter, concluding that the Libyan Ambassador had been a
"lone wolf" in seeking to influence Lesotho politics and there
was therefore no harm done to Lesotho-Libya bilateral relations.
Moleleki added that he had invited the Government of Libya to
send investigators to Lesotho so that "we can show them the
evidence, and they can then pursue criminal charges against the
former Ambassador."

COMMENT: WITH CONFIDENCE


--------------------------





9. (C) FM Moleleki has been on international travel for the
better part of two months, but is now clearly seized with
domestic matters. He acknowledged that there is much to be done
within Lesotho on making forward progress with the MCC compact,
but admitted that February elections will be a preoccupation
over the coming weeks. He expressed considerable confidence in
his governing LCD party, and his own prospects for re-election,
suggesting that even a coalition of the entire opposition could
not unseat him from his constituency. End Comment.
MURPHY