SADC commits to help Lesotho

Working with the leadership of Lesotho, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) says it is committed to defend and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the mountain kingdom.

“We are determined to accompany the people of Lesotho in their quest to lay to rest their political and security challenges. Our region has the capacity and the political will to ensure that Lesotho gets out of the siege of rogue army elements and other security burning issues,” South African Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Friday.

The Minister was speaking at a meeting in Tshwane, attended by ministers and representatives from Swaziland, Angola, Tanzania and Namibia.

The meeting was a precursor to the Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government in Pretoria on Friday, which will discuss the political and security issues of Lesotho.

The summit, which will be chaired by President Zuma as the chair of regional bloc, is yet another attempt to create an atmosphere of tolerance and peace in the mountain kingdom.

This follows the assassination of Lesotho Defence Force Commander, General Khoantle Motšomotšo, reportedly by army officers in his military headquarters.

The men who assassinated him have been named as Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi, who were in turn shot dead in a shootout with Motšomotšo's bodyguards and other soldiers.

The army officers were under criminal investigation along with a number of other soldiers for the murder of the former Defence Force Commander‚ General Maaparanko Mahao‚ in 2015.

The latest killing in Lesotho revived tensions, which prompted SADC to dispatch a fact finding mission, whose report will be tabled in this afternoon’s Heads of State meeting.

The mission was premised on establishing the support needed by Lesotho after the Phumaphi Commission of Inquiry Report.

At its August summit, SADC ordered the new Lesotho government to develop and submit a roadmap on the implementation of all SADC decisions, with clear milestones and deliverables.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said when Lesotho committed to implement all SADC decisions during the 37th SADC summit last month, little did they know they would be back so soon.

“We meet under a dark cloud… The latest incidents have underscored the critical importance of dealing effectively with the persistent security and political challenges increasing in Lesotho.”

The Minister was, however, confident that they will be able to assist Lesotho in determining the appropriate interventions to resolve the instability.

The Heads of State summit kicks off in Tshwane this afternoon. - SAnews.gov.za