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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09MASERU447
2009-12-31 06:55:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Maseru
Cable title:  

DISCONTENT WITH PRIME MINISTER RISING WITHIN GOVERNING PARTY

Tags:   PGOV  LT 
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VZCZCXRO8712
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHRN
DE RUEHMR #0447 3650655
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 310655Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MASERU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4527
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 4962
						C O N F I D E N T I A L MASERU 000447 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, INF/AF
PRETORIA FOR ORA, DATT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2019
TAGS: PGOV LT
SUBJECT: DISCONTENT WITH PRIME MINISTER RISING WITHIN GOVERNING PARTY
AND SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT

REF: A. Maseru 261 B. Gaborone 702

CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth C. Power, Deputy Chief of Mission.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
C O N F I D E N T I A L MASERU 000447

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, INF/AF
PRETORIA FOR ORA, DATT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2019
TAGS: PGOV LT
SUBJECT: DISCONTENT WITH PRIME MINISTER RISING WITHIN GOVERNING PARTY
AND SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT

REF: A. Maseru 261 B. Gaborone 702

CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth C. Power, Deputy Chief of Mission.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Minister of Communications Mothetjoa Metsing,
who is also the governing Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)
Secretary General, expressed his concerns to Ambassador Nolan
about Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's decision not to retire
at the end of his current term and his "dictatorial" behavior in
keeping a tight rein on party activities. In a separate
conversation, the South African High Commissioner relayed
similar concerns about Mosisili and stated that South Africa is
convinced that political violence in Lesotho is a question of
"when, not if." END SUMMARY.


2. (C) On November 12, Metsing requested a meeting with the
Ambassador, wanting to discuss his concerns about Mosisili's
authoritarian control over all LCD party activities. Metsing
described Mosisili's unwillingness to consider any discussion
with the opposition, whether it be over the disputed allocation
of proportional representation seats in the 2007 elections or
over any other issue. Metsing stated that despite his position
as LCD Secretary General, he has never been consulted by
Mosisili about party policy or activities; instead, Mosisili
appears to receive guidance and support from hardliners in the
party such as Minister of Local Government Pontso Sekatle. This
reliance on Sekatle and others who encourage the Prime
Minister's distance from the opposition parties has caused
factions within the cabinet, and Metsing feels that he is being
sidelined. He claims that he and others would like to seek some
means of dialogue and rapprochement with the opposition, and
that he has also sought some collaboration from contacts within
South Africa's African National Congress party on party
leadership development, but these efforts have been stymied.


3. (C) In the Ambassador's separate conversation with South
African High Commissioner Happy Mahlangu on December 1, very
similar concerns were raised. Mahlangu stated that the Mosisili
is too authoritarian, noting that his unwillingness to engage
and compromise with the political opposition has raised the
South African government's (SAG) concerns about increased
potential for political violence; the SAG now feels that such
violence is a matter of "when, not if." Mosisili had sought a
state visit from newly elected South African President Jacob
Zuma earlier in the year, but the South Africans decided that
Mosisili had to resolve the internal dispute with the opposition
over the 2007 elections first. Mahlangu said that South Africa
will intervene militarily in Lesotho if it has to, but this
time, South Africa will not take sides and will simply act to
restore civil order. (Note: In 1998, South Africa's military
came in specifically to support the GOL in a conflict with the
political opposition. End note.)


4. (C) COMMENT: Metsing is viewed as a rising star within the
LCD, and the young, energetic politician seems to have a solid
base of public support. His discontent may be motivated in part
by his own political interest, but his comments about the Prime
Minister taking a hard line with the opposition coincide with
those of Foreign Minister Kenneth Tsekoa during the August 2009
stay away, and are therefore quite credible (ref A). Mahlangu's
comments about South Africa's perceptions of Lesotho are
concerning, as on the surface, the local political situation
currently appears quite calm. South Africa's willingness to
take a firm stance against Mosisili if necessary is only
highlighted by the recent issue of SADC's AU presidency
nomination going to Malawi instead of Lesotho, as had been
originally planned (ref B).

POWER