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Military Increases Role in Lesotho Government

March 18, 1988

MASERU, Lesotho (AP) _ The ruling Military Council on Friday announced a government reshuffling that expands the military’s role.

There were no personnel changes in the six-man council. But one of its members, Col. Thabe Letsie, will take on expanded duties as foreign minister. He replaces Lengolo Monyake, who has been reassigned as minister of works.

Col. Ramohlanka Ntsohi also was named ambassador to nearby Mozambique Friday. His appointment marks the first time an active military officer has been named to a foreign diplomatic post since Lesotho became independent from the British in 1966.

In another change, Banda Machobane, former vice chancellor of the University of Lesotho, has become minister of education.

The Military Council, headed by Maj. Gen. Justin Lekhanya, has banned all political activity since Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan was ousted in a January 1986 coup.

The landlocked nation of 1.5 million people was once known as Basutoland. It is surrounded by South Africa, which heavily bolsters its economy.

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