02 Sep Week 1: Military Coup – Time to Leave
|Gatwick Goodbyes: See you in February!|
|Downsizing for the final leg|
|Lesotho: The Mountain Kingdom|
|King Moshoeshoe I International Airport!|
|A 2010 World Cup Legacy,
hopefully soon to be home to a Bullock Brother 5-a-side Reunion
We spent the night at ‘Maluti Mountain Lodge‘ at a discounted rate negotiated by Rene-Paul, enjoying a simple Rondavaal with staggering mountain views.
|Rene-Paul negotiating rates with the owner|
|The View from Maluti Mountain Lodge|
|Maluti Mountain Lodge – a snip at around £20 per night|
|Moses on his return to the car after retrieving lost jumper…|
“What, off off?” we quizzed Rene-Paul in surprise. With that, we watched as he stuck his finger out of his Land Rover window to test the wind direction and therefore decide where he was going to head next. Rumour has it he received a text message from a young Norwegian acquaintance in Cape Town.
Anyway, the rest of the day was spent walking through the hills, enjoying dinner in the German themed Highlander restaurant and a quiet evening back at the lodge flicking between the many live football matches on the tele.
|Entertaining Moses finds his long lost hat, complete with tyre marks in our original parking space|
Monday we visited Cat’s Barbers at Room 28 Maluti Mountain Lodge and mainly sat at the Highlander cafe where I wrote most of this before being distracted by a German themed brewery restaurant!
Today we’ve been debating over a dilemma as to whether to return to Maseru as some expats now have, take up the offer of free accommodation just over the border in Landybrand or alternatively move on to Drakensburg, east of Lesotho. Initially we decided on the latter to maintain our insanity and sense of adventure whilst the situation remains unclear in Lesotho and US citizens (therefore Moses) have been advised to leave.
|‘PBA Bear’ Ready for the Next Stop|
In the end, en route to Drakensburg our indecisiveness and waning patience have got the better and we have settled for a compromise half way (and half way between Joburg and Durban) at the motel style ‘Mountain View Inn’ in Bergview just outside the quite random town of Harrismith (named after British colonel Harry Smith).
|Our latest stop: Mountain View Inn, Bergview|
|Sunset Cliffs, an increasingly familiar site|
Fingers crossed we may be able to think about moving back to Maseru tomorrow. In the mean time, here’s what we think we know about the situation:
- An uneasy coalition government has been in place in Lesotho since 2012, between All Basotho Congress (ABC), Lesotho Democratic Congress (LDC) and Basotho National Party (BNP).
- Parliament has been suspended since June by Prime Minister Thebane (ABD) after MPs threatened a vote of no confidence
- The vote of no confidence is linked to the LDC under Deputy Prime Minster Metsing who is due a court case for corruption during his time under previous ruling party LD
- PM Thebane has sacked a of political figures recently including Army Lieutenant Commander General Kamoli, also linked to LD’s corruption charges
- PM Thebane fled to SA on Friday night having been tipped off of the imminent ‘coup’ apparently led by the sacked army general. Kamoli’s loyal troops attempted an assassination on his successor after raiding Thebane’s state house in Maseru West (near our house), but only managing to kill his dog
- The police are loyal to Thebane, with the army loyal to deputy Primary Minister Metsing (LDC) who is due in court for corruption charges as part of the previous ruling party LD. The police were stripped of arms by the army and many officers have fled Lesotho
- The South African Development Community (sadc) have rejected Thebane’s request for intervention. He was due to return today on the guarantee that he won’t be killed but has now delayed the return
- It is not clear who is currently in power though Komoli has claimed he is, a small amount of gunfire and power cuts have been reported and international NGO staff have apparently been advised to leave the country
Finishing this post off in the Rodriguez themed ‘Sugarman Cafe’, fingers crossed next time I write a blog post we’ll be back in a stable Lesotho with my feet under the table at K4L helping host the first of two tours…At the very least I hope this new random group of mates can continue to put up with each other! I guess this is technically no longer only ’30 stops before 30′!
…Let’s see what the next days bring!