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Lesotho: Leave.EU’s Diamond In The Rough
Within Leave.EU’s business network sits a plain looking diamond. Lesotho faces elections in June…
Updated with hyperlinks/broken links 27/11/2016
Within the labyrinthine structure of Arron Banks’ complex business network sits a plain looking diamond.
Parsons Jewellers in Bristol had been in the same family for generations when it hit trouble. It was eventually bought by the man behind Leave.EU and Westmonster and in his autobiography Banks outlined his desire to turn the outfit into a brand.
Banks sources his gems from a series of mines he owns in South Africa, under the company name Kophia Diamonds, and is listed as a director alongside Jonathan Ian Banks and James Pryor.
Jonathan has a law firm registered to Banks’ primary offices in Bristol, and Pryor – ex-UKIP and Maggie Thatcher communications guru – is linked to another Banks connected company, Chartwell Political.
While there is no website for the mining operation, Pryor’s email address is listed as the contact address for any queries. Arron Banks is further linked to the region by lobbying and mining companies unearthed in the Panama Papers.
On the 25th of January 2015, ahead of Lesotho’s last election, Leave.EU’s Andy Wigmore and James Pryor were both present in the country, “burning the midnight election oil.”
At least one of Banks’ mining operations is located in Lesotho, where early general elections are to be held in June 2017 following a no-confidence vote in the incumbent prime minister, who has led in coalition after a military coup caused the 2012 election to fail and a snap election to be held in 2015. The political landscape is clearly complex.
Mr Wigmore and Mr Banks have been asked how the coming election could affect the mining interests in Lesotho. As yet there has been no reply.
While there is no indication as to what involvement they had in the election campaign beyond the photograph, Wigmore, along with both Arron and Jonathan Banks, and James Pryor are pictured with the King of Lesotho on the 11th of June 2014 during an apparent trip to visit their mining facilities. (No stranger to celebrity, Wigmore can also be found pictured in the infamous gold lift at Trump Tower.)
Banks, in his autobiography, describes Pryor as his “fixer in Africa” and states that both Pryor and Wigmore worked together for the conservatives in the late 1980s. Banks goes on to say that he bought two mines in Lesotho, visits them periodically, but Pryor is there most of the time to keep him updated.
Mr Wigmore and Mr Banks have been asked what connections they have with the king but have not yet replied.
As previously highlighted in the #snowman investigation and in Guardian articles, Banks is shown in the Panama Papers as the director African Strategic Consulting Ltd (“lobbying”), African Strategic Resources Ltd (“mining”), and African Strategic Capital Ltd (“wealth management”). There is no indication of illegality in this structure.
Mr Wigmore and Mr Banks have been asked what lobbying, if any, the consulting group does. As yet there has been no reply.
On the Chartwell website, Pryor lists his previous experience as including assistance to the Basothu National Party in Lesotho, though it is not clear in which election.
The party faces current accusations from incumbent Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, who says the BNP founder, Lesotho Leabua Jonathan, was a lackey of the British who turned a blind eye to his “atrocities” to undermine Lesotho’s independence.
He states a vote for them would be tantamount to returning the country to the “dark era” of nationalist rule. “Chief Leabua, supported by the English, was not ready to accept defeat. He declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution instead. Basotho entered a dark era in which their basic human rights were violated. A lot of people were killed, while some Basotho were literally buried alive in places like Lipeketheng at Hlotse in Leribe district. Those were the acts of the nationalists.”
“Last year, we celebrated 50 years of Lesotho’s independence and we have now begun another journey. Like I said, we started the first journey on a wrong foot under a nationalist regime. We cannot afford to repeat that mistake by starting another 50-year journey under a government of nationalists,” he added.
Chief Malapo of the BNP responded with a now internationally familiar, Trumpesque narrative, saying “Ntate Mosisili is a pathetic liar. He believes he can fool every Mosotho with his distorted information and propaganda.”
Mr Wigmore and Mr Banks have been asked if there is any financial support given by donation to any of the Lesotho political parties. As yet there has been no reply.
The BNP’s history is colourful, fractious, and deeply tied to Russia.
After trips to the People’s Republic of China and the Eastern Bloc in May 1983, Basotho Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan announced that China and the Soviet Union would be establishing embassies in the kingdom. The South African government responded angrily to the announcement and reminded Jonathan of a promise he made in 1965 not to allow an embassy of any communist country in Lesotho so long as he was Prime Minister. Vincent Makhele, the Basotho Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Moscow in September 1984 for discussions with officials in the Soviet government.
In a sign of increased KGB presence in Lesotho, staffing levels in the embassy in Maseru were increased and in May 1985 the Soviets appointed their first resident Ambassador to Lesotho. In December 1985, Makhele returned to Moscow and signed a cultural and scientific co-operation agreement (along with a technical and economic agreement) with the Soviets.
Soviet inroads in Lesotho suffered a setback when Jonathan was overthrown in January 1986 in a military coup which was led by Justin Lekhanya. The Russian embassy in Maseru was closed in August 1992 and the Russian Ambassador to South Africa has been allocated to Lesotho since. The two countries have maintained a history of bilateral agreement, however – predominantly with Russia providing scholarships, including to senior government officials.
In the summer of 2014, around the time of Banks’ group meeting with the king, Russia began to deliver humanitarian aid to Lesotho.
Ahead of the 2017 election, the Construction and Mine Workers Union have accused diamond mines of coercing their workers into signing advance voters applications in violation of their rights. They have lodged a joint call with the Transformation Resource Centre, asking the Independent Electoral Commission to intervene and assure the miners are protected.
In a strongly worded attack, they made plain it was a criminal offence to “force workers to provide the IEC false information about employment” or to “prohibit workers from voting” on Saturday the 3rd of June 2017. Tskioane Peshoane of the TRC accused the government of condoning the contravention of the electoral act by foreign companies.
Mr Wigmore and Mr Banks have been asked if they are aware of the CAMAU concerns, whether this affects their own operations, and if they have any concerns of their own. As yet there has been no reply.
The responses of Mr Wigmore and Mr Banks should shed some interesting light on Lesotho’s forthcoming – and clearly fractious – election.
Mr Banks is also involved is charitable work in the country.
*Due to human error and volume of background material from diverse sources, some links or attributions may be found to be missing at a later stage once contemporaneous news reporting period have ended. Any such issue will be corrected as soon as reasonably practicable.
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With an avg. 1.2M voters per MEP & Britain with 16% of EU GDP and 13% of the EU’s population yet having only 8% (if united) say, whilst holding less than 3% of the various offices within the EU Do note The EUropean Parliament has no ability to make policy and has a Commission of unelected bureaucrats, thus clearly the EU is not even a pretence of being a democracy despite its protestations!Do note that many senior apparatchicks and even elected politicians speak openly of the ‘Post Democratic era’ with no sense of shame or irony and in complete contempt of the so called electorate – yet The EU & many of its vassal States/Regions are all too willing to slaughter people in Sovereign States, to impose The EU’s chosen brand of democracy on them!
Now as President Junker announced in his ‘State of the union’ speech 2017 the aim is to create an EU military force and centralise ever more of the decision making and control!
The imposition of a Government and policies upon its vassal regions such as the peoples of Greece shows just how far from being a democracy the EU is.
Just follow the recent EU display of so called ‘Democracy’:
France and the Netherlands voted against the proposed EU constitution in 2005, only to have those votes ignored.
Ireland voted against ratifying the Lisbon treaty in 2008, but then later under pressure & threats had to change its mind.
Greece for me was the final straw. It became clear in 2015 that it didn’t matter which way the Greek people voted. The birthplace of democracy had become its tomb. That was enough. I was going to vote to leave the EU when the chance came.
No political party of any significance in Britain took active steps to achieve a Referendum – the task was eventually taken by an Indipendent West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire who personally launched and funded the gathering of a petition of 225,000 signatures delivered to Parliament via Downing Street, thus forcing a debate in the House of Commons on an IN/OUT Referendum, which led to David Cameron’s first consequential rebellion.
It was due to winning that debate, officially opposed by every party including Ukip that David Cameron was forced to include a promise of an IN/OUT Referendum in the Tory Manifesto at the next General Election. The rest is history & despite no Parliamentary Party backing the OUT vote & Government spending Millions of Pounds of public money leafletting & promoting ‘Project Fear’ to try to persuade the British people to Remain just as they had at the first Referendum in 1975 – This time their lies and threats were not heeded and in the largest vote in British history Britain voted by a clear majority to Leave.
Nikki Sinclaire’s OUT result left Cameron & his co conspirator Osborne with no option but to resign, sadly some of the other traitors have remained to try to hinder progress to BreXit, aided by their corrupt allies in the EU and \eu funding and bribes!
There will be little or no change in Britain’s economic position, if we leave the EU, using a better negotiated, customised & updated version of the ‘Norway Model’ as a stepping stone to becoming a full member of the Eropean Economic Area, where all will benefit, as we secure trade relations with the EU’s vassal regions, with an EFTA style status and can trade and negotiate independently on the global stage, as members of The Commonwealth and the Anglosphere.
This is of course dependent on a modicum of intelligence on the part of Britain’s politicians and negotiators but it also requires the integrity of Parliament to uphod democracy and the integrity of EU politicuians & apparchicks to act ethically and without their normal vindictive mallice.
I believe Leaving the EU will be turned into something of a rough ride by the ignorant and the corrupt but I have no doubt that in the long run Leaving the EU will prove conclusively to be in the best interests of Britain and our true allies. I also believe that Britain leaving the EU will prove to be the catalyst to great changes within the EU and hopefully its democratisation as without great changes it is indubitably doomed.
Do not overlook the fact that politicians have plotted and schemmed since the 1950s and we have actually been vassals of the EU, when it was still using the aesopian linguistics and calling itself The Common Market in the early 1970s, a name the bureaucrats arbitrarily changed to EUropean Union in the early 1990s as they worked towards their long term goals of an ever closer centrally controlled Political and economic Union with its own anthem, currency, flag and rigid central control by its self appointed bureacrats towards a new Empirate –
It will take many years to rectify the mess our political class got us into and we have no other peacefull means by which to extricate ourselves than to depend on that self same self styled elite, who all too often forget they work for us!
One huge benefit of BreXit will be that we can negotiate with bodies like the WTO, UN, WHO, IMF, CODEX and the like, directly, in our own interest and that of our partners around the world, in both the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere at large; rather than having negotiations and terms imposed by unelected EU bureacrats and their interpretation of the rules handed down, as if they were some great achievement of the EU’s!The greatest change and benefit will be political, as we improve our democracy and self determination, with the ability to deselect and elect our own Government, with an improved Westminster structure, see >Harrogate Agenda<.
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