SADC intervenes in Lesotho

 

SADC, under the leadership of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, has resolved a potentially explosive situation in Lesotho after an attempted coup by that country’s expelled army commander Lieutenant-General Kennedy Kamoli last week.

President Mugabe, who assumed reins of the regional body last month, dispatched a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, on August 31 to be part of the Troika meeting that resolved the matter in South Africa.

Other members of the Zimbabwe delegation included Defence Forces Commander-General Constantine Chiwenga and Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador, Joey Bimha.

The SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (Troika) is chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma and its other members are President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of Lesotho.

However, Lesotho was not part of the Troika because it was on the agenda of the meeting.

Impeccable sources, who attended the Pretoria meeting, said it was agreed that Prime Minister Thabane and his delegation that included the police chief who had fled Maseru for South Africa should return home.

The sources said PM Thabane and his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing also met Troika Chair and South African President Zuma and committed to work together as a coalition.

“The Zimbabwean delegation and other Troika members met PM Thabane and his delegation to review the situation in Lesotho on Sunday,” said one source.

“The following day PM Thabane and his deputy met Troika chairperson President Zuma.”

It is understood that after the meeting, PM Thabane and DPM Metsing produced a joint statement where they said they were happy to work together as a coalition and expected King Letsie III to also issue a statement.

“It was further agreed that PM Thabane and his delegation should be in Maseru by 3rd of September,” said the source.

PM Thabane and DPM Metsing agreed to come up with a roadmap to normalise the situation in their country.

In the statement, the source said, it was indicated that DPM Metsing was highly unlikely to call for a vote of no confidence in PM Thabane.

The source added that a team of defence chiefs was dispatched to review the situation in Lesotho on September 2. The defence chiefs, the source said, reported that the situation was calm and Lt-Gen Kamoli said he was willing to step down.

“The defence chiefs also reported that Lt-Gen Kamoli said he was not contemplating any coup,” said the source.

Another source said a SADC observer team would soon be dispatched to Lesotho to monitor the situation and the implementation of agreed issues.

The team would comprise of members from defence, police, diplomats and a civilian component.

A statement released by SADC after the Pretoria meeting, said the meeting reviewed the political and security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho on which the leaders of the Coalition Government highlighted that the political and security situation had deteriorated which needed immediate intervention and support from SADC.

“The meeting reiterated the commitment contained in the Windhoek Declaration in which the leaders of the coalition government committed to working together to restore political normalcy, stability, law and order, peace and security in the Kingdom. 

In this regard, the leaders of the coalition government agreed to expeditiously implement the declaration, by removing the parliament prorogation, in particular. 

In this regard, they agreed on the Roadmap with clear timelines on how to remove the parliament prorogation, which shall be submitted to the King. 

The leaders further agreed to issue a joint statement appealing for calm and exercise restrain with a view to rapidly bring law and order back in the Kingdom,” the statement said.

It said President Zuma welcomed the joint commitment of the leaders of the coalition government and pledged to render the SADC Troika full support with a view to speedily restore the stability and security in the country. In addition, SADC agreed to send a SADC Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho to work with the coalition government as they implement the agreed roadmap and deploy an Observer Team on Politics, Defence and Security as a matter of urgency.

President Zuma appealed to the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho to support the leaders as they work together to re-establish the political stability, security, and law and order. He reiterated SADC’s commitment to remain seized with the political and security development in the Kingdom. – The Herald/Southern Times Writer

September 2014
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