Lesotho struggling to implement SADC elements

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By Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - Lesotho is struggling to implement Southern African Development Community (SADC) elements earmarked at bringing peace and stability to the Kingdom country.

In August last year, SADC gave Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Dr Thomas Thabane a November 2017 deadline to formulate a roadmap to implement critical elements to restore order in the southern African Kingdom, which has been battling political instability since 2014.

Thabane, who took office on 16 June last year as part of a coalition government, was asked to implement the SADC elements, three years after he was targeted by a coup and the murder of his estranged wife also in June last year.

Part of the elements request Thabane to fire Lesotho’s Defence Force (LDF) Commander, Lieutenant General Tladi Kamoli.

Experts have, however, accused SADC of imposing itself on the laws of a sovereign state with this element but nonetheless Kamoli was still fired.

SADC says this element is critical because Kamoli needed to be investigated for the death of former LDF Commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, who was fatally shot by fellow members of LDF. This is the only element achieved so far. Other elements such as having amnesty that will cover the detained mutiny suspects and ensure the safe return of all members of the LDF, who have fled Lesotho for the lives, have still not been met.

Other elements, request Lesotho to tighten the country’s constitution, which is deemed to have loopholes that lead to political and security instability. 

Namibia’s President and new SADC Chair, Dr Hage Geingob admitted to The Southern Times last week that SADC was not happy with the pace at which the Kingdom was implementing the elements.

“The resolution says this process is too slow. However, we cannot dictate to a sovereign state, what we can do is to remind them in a diplomatic way. 

We are, however, not happy because the implementation process is very slow,” he said.

SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax added that the heads of state noted with concern that despite SADC instituting several initiatives in the Kingdom of Lesotho, progress on the implementation of the reforms roadmap, and national dialogue remains very slow.

Dr Tax said the SADC Summit, which was held last week in Namibia, urged the Kingdom of Lesotho and all stakeholders to ensure that the National Leaders Forum, scheduled for 23-24 August 2018 took place as planned, and called upon all stakeholders, including those who reside outside to participate.

“The Summit urged the Kingdom of Lesotho government to put in place a programme with clear milestones for the implementation of priority activities on the Reforms Roadmap and National Dialogue, while recognising that the SAPMIL (SADC Preventing Mission in Lesotho) tenure ends in November 2018, a report of which is to be submitted to the Chairperson of the Organ by 30th October 2018,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Thabane has committed to implement all the elements but has asked for more time.  

 

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