Lesotho delays budget after main party withdraws from coalition

The All Basotho Convention (ABC) announced it’s pulling out of the government shortly before Finance Minister Thabo Sophonea was set to deliver the annual budget on Wednesday.
Lesotho Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, who wants to remain in the position until the country holds general elections in September. Image: Bloomberg

Lesotho, a southern African kingdom plagued by years of political instability, postponed its budget after the main party withdrew from the nation’s ruling coalition.

The All Basotho Convention (ABC) announced it’s pulling out of the government shortly before Finance Minister Thabo Sophonea was set to deliver the annual budget on Wednesday in the capital, Maseru.Lawmakers prevented Sophonea from speaking by insisting that the government had collapsed, though the speaker of parliament has yet to make a declaration on the matter.

The ABC has been riven by divisions since a party vote last month in which former Health Minister Nkaku Kabi was elected as leader.

He defeated Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, who said that he wants to remain prime minister until the country holds general elections in September.

A country of about 3 million people, Lesotho is an important source of fresh-water for South Africa, which encircles the mountain kingdom.

Opposition riots in 1998 prompted South Africa to deploy troops to restore order, and in 2014 the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane temporarily fled the country after accusing the military of overthrowing him.

He later stepped down after being implicated in the murder of his ex-wife.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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