SADC to send fact finding mission to Lesotho

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will on Thursday send a fact finding mission to Lesotho following the assassination of Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motsomotso.

Motsomotso was assassinated on Tuesday 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 Motsomotso's bodyguards and other soldiers.

The army officers, according to reports, 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.

“True to one of its key objectives which is to consolidate, defend and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the region, SADC will on 7th September 2017 dispatch a Ministerial Fact Finding Mission to the Kingdom to assess the situation and determine the required intervention mechanism,” said President Jacob Zuma, who is also the SADC chair, on Tuesday.

The latest killing in the mountainous kingdom is likely to revive instability and tensions.  

President Zuma has condemned the incident which he called regrettable. The killings, he said, are creating what he called a “dangerous pattern.”

“This unfortunate incident happened so soon after the Kingdom of Lesotho had conducted peaceful and democratic elections which SADC had thought they were to bring political normalcy and stability in the country,” said President Zuma.

President Zuma has called for absolute calm and restraint until the mission completes its work.

The killings also come as the recently concluded 37th SADC summit ordered the new Lesotho government to develop and submit a roadmap on the implementation of all SADC decisions, with clear milestones and deliverables and report of progress at the next meeting of the Double Trioka Summit to be held before November 2017.

The SADC reforms include the constitutional and security sector reforms process.

The Commission of Inquiry, led by Mpaphi Phumaphi, was set up to investigate the fatal shooting of former Lesotho Defence Force commander, Maaparankoe Mahao, in 2015.

The investigation of the commission, which was concluded in October 2015, recommended the dismissal of former army commander Tlali Kamoli and the suspension of LDF officers implicated in cases of murder, attempted murder and treason.

Lesotho has been through bouts of political turbulence since the attempted coup in 2014.

The last three elections in the Kingdom - most recently in June - have also failed to produce winners with clear majorities. -