SADC TO HELP LESOTHO IMPLEMENT REFORMS FOR LASTING PEACE

An extra-ordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Double Troika has resolved to provide Lesotho with assistance to implement a mixture of reforms aimed at bringing lasting peace and stability ito the Mountain Kkingdom.

The sub-regional body, at its last double troika summit in January, had directed Lesotho to start implementing constitutional, security sector, media and public sector reforms to address current deficiencies in its governance systems which are fueling conflict.

Trouble arose in Lesotho two years ago when the army and police, backing opposing political parties, became entangled in the race to take over leadership of the country.

Then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and other opposition leaders, fled to South Africa in 2014, alleging a coup by the army, forcing the SADC to intervene by appointing a Facilitator, South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, to help address the political crisis.

Lesotho’s history is littered with mutinies and coups. The facilitation led to early elections in 2015 won by Prime Minister Mosisili but instability persisted leading to the assassination of

former Lesotho Defence Forces Commander, Brigadier General Maaparankoe Mahao, by government forces.

Mahao had been asked to step down from his position as part of wider measures to reform the security sector.

His death led the SADC to establish a Commission of Inquiry, which late last year came up with a number of proposals to ease tensions. It is these recommendations by both the commission and the facilitator which the SADC Double Troika met in Botswana this week to follow up on their implementation.

Botswana, the current chair of the regional body, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania make up the Double Troika.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, also attended Tuesday’s meeting of the Double Troika.

“The summit offered its services in terms of personnel, technical know-how and to some extent resources in order to assist Lesotho to implement the various reforms which were required,” Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told the media at the end of the summit, which President Robert Mugabe also attended.

The summit agreed to activate an eight-member oversight committee that will keeps tabs on progress being made in the implementation of the reforms. “The summit decided to operationalize the oversight committee which was decided upon in the January summit,” Mumbengegwi said.

“This is a committee of eight, coming from the six members of the Double Troika members who will visit Lesotho periodically to be able to assess progress in terms of the implementation of recommendations and where necessary, give assistance to the kingdom of Lesotho.”

Mumbengegwi said the Lesotho government had expressed enthusiasm to implement the reforms. “There was co-operation from all the parties involved and it indicates we should get a good (progress) report at the Sadc summit to be held in Swaziland in August,” Mumbengegwi said.

Lesotho had already taken some steps to implement reforms which the summit noted, he said.

No deadlines had however been set for full implementation of the reforms as some of the issues were “complicated and delicate,” he said.

Mumbengegwi said the summit had also urged the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to work with the kingdom’s government to ensure opposition leaders still in exile safely return to take part in the constitutional reform process. Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi chairs the organ.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe returned to Harare on Tuesday evening.

Source: Nam News Network