Exiled Lesotho opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Tom Thabane, are returning home to the Mountain Kingdom this Sunday.

Thabane, who is the leader of all Basotho Convention party, together with Basotho National Party leader Thesele Maseribane and Reformed Congress of Lesotho party leader Keketso Rantso fled the kingdom in May 2015 saying they feared for their lives.

The three said they would not return until former army commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, who retired in December, was removed from office.

Their reason is that the army under the command of Kamoli was intending to harm them.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), Churches and civil society have weighed in on attempts to have them return home.

“Civil society believes that the coming home of opposition leaders is a welcome move and would in many respects help political situation improve in the country. Civil society welcomes commitment by opposition leaders that their coming back is a peaceful initiative and they want to engage politically for the stability which plays a critical role in creating an investor friendly environment,” said Lesotho Council of NGOs leader Seabata Motsamai.

Two weeks ago, opposition supporters welcoming home other returning exiles tried to march in celebration, but clashed with police.

As thousands more are expected to celebrate this Sunday, police have granted a permit for a rally, but warned revellers not to gather at the border or march on the streets.

Motsamai says: “Since they have also been given a permit to gather there, then that’s one of the measures that may avert any kind of confrontation.”

However, this return could be fruitless. The kingdom’s Constitution says if members of parliament who fail to attend a third of the sittings in a year may be disqualified. Opposition MPs are challenging this in court.

The NGOs say there are no specific security guarantees being offered to the returning leaders but they believe the situation in the country is stable.