Mugabe hopes for peaceful poll in Lesotho
By Lovemore Ranga Mataire
President Robert Mugabe has expressed hope the coming parliamentary elections in Lesotho will be conducted in a peaceful environment which will usher in lasting peace and stability.
Speaking at a banquet in honour of King Letsie III, who was on a four-day State visit to Zimbabwe, Mugabe said Zimbabwe was committed to working for peace in the region with other regional countries.
“We are confident that, as they have done in the past, they will exercise their democratic right in a peaceful manner.
In this, Zimbabwe, together with the rest of the SADC family, will support and cheer you,” said President Mugabe.
King Letsie III, who was in Zimbabwe from Monday to Thursday last week, said he and his people were grateful of the wise counsel rendered by President Mugabe in ushering peace and stability to his troubled country.
“Your guidance and leadership in bringing back normalcy, stability and legitimacy to the monarchy and other institutions will never be forgotten,” said King Letsie III.
During his visit, King Letsie toured the National Heroes Acre, the Lion and Cheetah Park just on the margins of Harare and the majestic Victoria Falls, almost a thousand kilometres from the capital city Harare.
Lesotho was two years ago plunged into uncertainty following the killing of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao by alleged members of the Lesotho Defence Force outside his farm in Lesotho on June 25.
The SADC Double Troika, then chaired by Mugabe, immediately met in Pretoria and decided to set up an independent Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mahao.
The troika, made up of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Malawi, urged Lesotho to urgently undertake constitutional and security sector reforms as well as create a conducive environment for the return of opposition leaders who had fled the country.
In 2016 SADC appointed a committee to oversee the implementation of constitutional and security reforms in Lesotho, a move described as a major step towards ensuring political stability in that kingdom.
The eight member panel comprised members from Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Tanzania which constitute the Double Troika.
The SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, chose South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as facilitator to oversee the return of opposition leaders from exile and their participation in the constitutional reform.
Lesotho has been on the edge since the shooting of the ex-army commander.
There had been reports of an attempted military coup after the then Prime Minister Dr Thomas Thabane fired the LDF commander Lieutenant-General Kennedy Tlali Kamoli and elevated Brig Mahao to the post in 2014. The Sadc Commission of Inquiry into the killing of Brig Mahao recommended that the government of Lesotho ensures that criminal investigations on the death of Brig Mahao are pursued vigorously with the finality of the investigations leading to transparent course of justice.