Military strongman Lekhanya dies

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By Staff Reporter

Former head of Lesotho’s military junta Major-General Metsing Lekhanya died on Wednesday at the age of 82, exactly 35 years after the 1986 coup which saw him overthrow Leabua Jonathan’s government.

Details around Lekhanya’s passing are still sketchy. Basotho National Party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, could not disclose the cause of Lekhanya’s death or where he had met his demise. He promised to cast more light after meeting the deceased’s family on Wednesday evening. 

Born on April 7 1938 at Mantṧonyane in Thaba Tseka, Lekhanya was the Chairman of the Military Council and the Council of Ministers of Lesotho from 24 January 1986 to 2 May 1991.

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He completed his primary and secondary education in Roman Catholic Schools. After working as a migrant mine worker in South Africa, he joined the Basutoland Mounted Police in 1960. He became the only Masotho officer heading a paramilitary Police Mobile Unit (PMU) platoon soon after its formation in 1965.

During the early 1970s, he received trainings at police academies in South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and later assumed command of the PMU as a Major General in 1975. Lekhanya also oversaw its transformation into the Lesotho Paramilitary Force, later known as Lesotho Defence Force.

He was elected as leader of the BNP in March 1999, replacing the late Retṧelisitsoe Sekhonyana. He led the part until 2010 when he was ousted in a vote of no confidence.