‘Gov­ern­ment’ blasts Ramaphosa at AU Sum­mit

…sub­mits damn­ing re­port of his me­di­a­tion to bloc's sum­mit

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Le­tuka Chafotsa

GOV­ERN­MENT’S re­port sub­mit­ted to the African Union Sum­mit held in Ethiopia last week, was highly crit­i­cal of the way South African Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has been fa­cil­i­tat­ing the coun­try’s re­turn to sta­bil­ity.

The re­port was pre­sented by Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo, whose party formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) af­ter the 26 May 2012 gen­eral elec­tion had re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

The re­port — which has since been disowned by the LCD lead­er­ship, whose fall­out with ABC leader and Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane over his “dic­ta­to­rial ten­den­cies” led to a snap elec­tion on 28 Fe­bru­ary — con­demns Mr Ramaphosa for choos­ing to ig­nore some crit­i­cal is­sues that led to the coun­try’s cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity crises.

The re­port, a copy of which the Le­sotho Times has ob­tained, reads: “The re­port of the SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho, His Ex­cel­lency Cyril Ramaphosa, has elab­o­rated to the Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit, the process fol­lowed to date in at­tempt­ing to re­solve the po­lit­i­cal im­passe in the Le­sotho.

“Mr Ramaphosa’s ef­forts are deeply ap­pre­ci­ated by the Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Le­sotho, but a num­ber of is­sues ap­pear in the (SA) Deputy Pres­i­dent’s re­port that the Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho would wish to elab­o­rate fur­ther on in the hope that they will as­sist the Dou­ble Troika-plus-two to de­velop a more com­plete un­der­stand­ing of the on­go­ing devel­op­ment of events within Le­sotho,” the re­port read.

Out­lin­ing why Mr Ramaphosa was in­vited to Le­sotho in the first place, the re­port notes: “The SADC Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment are in­vited to re­call that the Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit was con­vened in Pre­to­ria, South Africa, on 15 Septem­ber 2014 fol­low­ing the es­ca­la­tion of ten­sion and de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the King­dom that cul­mi­nated in an at­tempted coup on 30 Au­gust 2014.

“The Sum­mit was briefed on the sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try fol­low­ing the MCO Troika plus Zim­babwe as­sess­ment visit to Le­sotho un­der­taken from 2-5 Septem­ber 2014.

As a con­se­quence of the as­sess­ment visit, it was rec­om­mended among oth­ers, that a Fa­cil­i­ta­tor be ap­pointed who would as­sist Le­sotho ad­dress un­der­ly­ing is­sues that led to the po­lit­i­cal im­passe, as well as the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion. The Fa­cil­i­ta­tor was given clear and ex­plicit Terms of Ref­er­ence and be­gan his work im­me­di­ately there­after.

“An im­por­tant point to make is that at the time of the ap­point­ment of the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor, in Septem­ber 2014, the Le­sotho Par­lia­ment was pro­rogued. The In­stru­ment of Pro­ro­ga­tion was is­sued in May 2014, in line with the Le­sotho Con­sti­tu­tion by His Majesty the King act­ing on the ad­vice of the Prime Min­is­ter.

The set pe­riod of the pro­ro­ga­tion was nine months and Par­lia­ment was ex­pected to re­sume on 27 Fe­bru­ary 2015. In the po­lit­i­cal arena, this was the main point of con­tention of the op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties who wished to have the Par­lia­ment im­me­di­ately re­opened.

“It is there­fore mis­lead­ing and legally in­cor­rect to re­fer to the pro­ro­ga­tion of Par­lia­ment as an ab­nor­mal sit­u­a­tion when the Le­sotho Par­lia­ment had been pro­rogued on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions and when pro­ro­ga­tion and the process for im­ple­ment­ing it are set out in the Le­sotho Con­sti­tu­tion.

It is ac­knowl­edged that the pe­riod of nine months is longer than pre­vi­ously prac­ticed although it is within the time­frame al­lowed by the Le­sotho Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, although Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued to in­sist that se­cu­rity is­sues were at the heart of the po­lit­i­cal im­passe, the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor, “with the sup­port of many stake­hold­ers in Le­sotho” was largely keen on ad­dress­ing po­lit­i­cal is­sues.

“The Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho, fol­low­ing the roadmap set out by the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor, agreed to re­move the pro­ro­ga­tion of Par­lia­ment and move for its quick re­open­ing.

In re­turn for this con­ces­sion, it was agreed that Par­lia­ment would sit to ad­dress is­sues only re­lat­ing to the hold­ing of elec­tions while all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties agreed to re­turn to the public to seek fresh man­dates.

“The sec­ond ses­sion of the Eighth Par­lia­ment of Le­sotho was opened by his Majesty King Let­sie III on 17 Oc­to­ber 2014 in the pres­ence of the SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor. In his ad­dress to the na­tion, His Majesty called upon the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to re­spect and abide by the Con­sti­tu­tion of Le­sotho, and ob­serve and im­ple­ment the un­der­tak­ings of the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion.

“Notwith­stand­ing the above, when a dis­pute arose be­tween the Prime Min­is­ter and a Min­is­ter from one of the par­ties in the Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment that ul­ti­mately re­sulted in the dis­missal of the said Min­is­ter, the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor did noth­ing to fa­cil­i­tate ad­her­ence to the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws of Le­sotho. “The Min­is­ter in ques­tion re­fused to ac­cept his dis­missal and make public pro­nounce­ments to that ef­fect.

The Army, at the be­hest of the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion, re­fused to with­draw VIP se­cu­rity from the home and per­son of the for­mer Min­is­ter. The army fa­cil­i­tated ac­cess of the for­mer Min­is­ter to state re­sources and in-fact, added to his se­cu­rity de­tail in di­rect and public de­fi­ance of the Gov­ern­ment.

The cha­rade of the for­mer Min­is­ter car­ry­ing on in­dif­fer­ent to the wishes of the King and Prime Min­is­ter con­tin­ued to the ex­tent that he re­turned to Par­lia­ment, sat on the Gov­ern­ment front­bench and tried to an­swer ques­tions in Par­lia­ment re­lat­ing to his for­mer Min­istry six weeks af­ter his dis­missal. The Fa­cil­i­ta­tor re­fused to pub­li­cally pro­nounce him­self on this is­sue or to un­der­take any ac­tion to rein in the ex­cesses of the Army.”the gov­ern­ment also takes is­sue with Mr Ramaphosa’s han­dling of the dis­pute be­tween the po­lice and army.

“By the time the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor reached Maseru to un­der­take his work, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) and Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) had de­te­ri­o­rated to the ex­tent where open armed con­flict could po­ten­tially arise be­tween the two. The fol­low­ing fac­tors had di­rectly con­trib­uted to the break­down of their re­la­tion­ship:

A num­ber of Ba­sotho youth were mur­dered in Mafeteng dis­trict. Ev­i­dence in pos- ses­sion of the po­lice im­pli­cated sol­diers in this event. The army re­fused to make the sol­diers avail­able to the po­lice for ques­tion­ing.

A bomb­ing and shoot­ings oc­curred at the res­i­dence of the Prime Min­is­ter’s con­sort. In­ves­ti­ga­tions done in con­sul­ta­tion with the South African Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) in­di­cated that mil­i­tary ex­plo­sives and ammunition had been used in the attack. The Army re­fused to al­low the sus­pected of­fi­cers to be ques­tioned.

The homes of Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (Khothatso) Tšooana and then Bri­gadier Gen­eral (Maa­parankoe) Ma­hao were at­tacked, once again us­ing army ammunition. None of the sus­pects in th­ese in­ci­dents have been made avail­able to the Po­lice.

On the evening of 30 Au­gust 2014 dur­ing the coup at­tempt, the Army sur­rounded po­lice sta­tions in Maseru. A po­lice of­fi­cer was killed when the Army at­tempted to seize doc­u­ments and case files from the po­lice repos­i­tory.”

The re­port fur­ther notes fol­low­ing nu­mer­ous at­tempts to “bring the Army un­der the rule of law” and in­sist­ing that it was es­sen­tial that the LDF hands over those sus­pected of crim­i­nal deeds, the Prime Min­is­ter “felt it nec­es­sary” to re­move Lt Gen Kamoli as LDF com­man­der and re­place him with Lt Gen Ma­hao.“it is this de­ci­sion that pre­cip­i­tated the coup at­tempt of 30 Au­gust 2014,” the re­port notes.

Mr Ramaphosa, the re­port adds, “per­suaded gov­ern­ment that the sit­u­a­tion may be im­proved if new per­son­al­i­ties were put in charge of the Po­lice and Army”.it con­tin­ues: “Although no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing could be at­trib­uted to Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Tšooana or Lt Gen Ma­hao, they were re­luc­tantly sac­ri­ficed in the in­ter­ests of en­cour­ag­ing pos­i­tive change within the Army.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Tšooana has been de­ployed to Al­ge­ria; Lt Gen­eral Ma­hao has been sent to South Su­dan while Lt Gen­eral Kamoli re­mains in South Africa where he is in close prox­im­ity and able to main­tain close links with se­nior of­fi­cers.

“His nom­i­nated re­place­ment re­fuses to ac­cept the ti­tle of Act­ing Com­man­der and refers to him­self as Deputy Com­man­der, thereby mak­ing it clear to the rank and file that Lt Gen­eral Kamoli should still be con­sid­ered the le­git­i­mate Army Com­man­der.

“The team­build­ing and in­ter­ac­tions that the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor has en­gaged the Po­lice and Army into have pro­duced some pos­i­tive benefits in­so­far as re­duc­ing ten­sions be­tween them. How­ever, the process is un­likely to gain wide­spread ac­cep­tance by the Po­lice in par­tic­u­lar un­til ac­tion is seen to be taken against those mem­bers of the Army sus­pected of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The gov­ern­ment also com­plains that Mr Ramaphosa had not done any­thing while the Elec­toral Pledge, which all par­ties tak­ing part in the up­com­ing elec­tions, signed, was be­ing vi­o­lated.“the pledge in­cludes a com­mit­ment to ad­here to the elec­tion code of con­duct, the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion and Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord.

“One of the un­der­tak­ings in the Elec­tion Pledge was for the Gov­ern­ment to re­frain from mak­ing se­nior ap­point­ments into the Public Ser­vice, Ju­di­ciary or Se­cu­rity Ser­vices.

On Thurs­day 22 Jan­uary 2015, the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced the ap­point­ment of the new Pres­i­dent of the Court of Ap­peal and the new Deputy Po­lice Com­mis­sioner. Both of th­ese de­ci­sions were taken by Cabi­net months in ad­vance of the sign­ing of the Elec­tion Pledge.

The de­ci­sion of the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to raise th­ese is­sues with the Gov­ern­ment pri­vately and most un­for­tu­nately in public, seeks to cre­ate the im­pres­sion that th­ese ap­point­ments are against the let­ter and spirit of the Elec­tion Pledge.” The gov­ern­ment also com­plains that Mr Ramaphosa had not ad­dressed the army’s re­la­tion­ship with the Prime Min­is­ter.

“While ef­forts to im­prove the work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Po­lice and the Army con­tinue and ap­pear to be yield­ing some tan­gi­ble re­sults, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the Army con­tin­ues to be tense. Meet­ings be­tween the Act­ing Army Com­man­der and the Prime Min­is­ter/de­fence Min­is­ter have now stopped as the Army con­tin­ues to nei­ther abide by le­git­i­mate in­struc­tions is­sued by the Prime Min­is­ter or to de­sist from po­lit­i­cal ut­ter­ances and hold­ing clan­des­tine meet­ings with op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, most par­tic­u­larly for­mer Prime Min­is­ter and Demo­cratic Congress leader Pakalitha Mo­sisili and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing.”

The gov­ern­ment is also not con­vinced that the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) is ready to hold cred­i­ble elec­tions.“the IEC con­tin­ues to in­sist that it will de­liver free and fair elec­tions on 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015, but is eva­sive on the fol­low­ing is­sues that re­late di­rectly to the cred­i­bil­ity of the elec­tions:

The size and in­tegrity of the vot­ers’ role. Coun­tries in the SADC re­gion with sim­i­lar pop­u­la­tions to Le­sotho, e.g. Namibia and Botswana have pro­por­tion­al­ity smaller vot­ers’ rolls than Le­sotho. Many de­ceased peo­ple re­main on the Le­sotho vot­ers’ roll but the IEC re­mains un­will­ing or un­able to deal with this prob­lem.

The IEC has in­suf­fi­cient funds to es­tab­lish 3000 polling sta­tions in the coun­try. His­tor­i­cally, Le­sotho has been faced with a prob­lem of ac­cess­ing re­mote ar­eas hav­ing the high­est vot­ing per­cent­ages.

No cam­paign fund­ing has yet been made avail­able to the par­ties.”

The re­port is also crit­i­cal of South Africa’s dom­i­nance of the SADC mission in Le­sotho.“the cur­rent com­po­si­tion of the SADC fa­cil­i­ta­tion with the Repub­lic of South Africa as the sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive of SADC has turned the fa­cil­i­ta­tion from a mul­ti­lat­eral to a bi­lat­eral one.

The his­tor­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial link­ages be­tween Le­sotho and the Repub­lic of South Africa make it dif­fi­cult for the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to re­main im­par­tial on all is­sues pre­sented be­fore him. “The ret­i­cence and re­luc­tance of the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to fully deal with the pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion within the Army raises ques­tions about the abil­ity of the Gov­ern­ment post-elec­tions to deal with the same is­sues that cur­rently de­fine the re­la­tion­ship with the Army.

“The Fa­cil­i­ta­tor is rais­ing a voice solely on those is­sues where it ap­pears the Gov­ern­ment might be at fault. The delin­quent be­hav­iour of the op­po­si­tion, LCD Min­is­ters and the Army is ig­nored.”

In con­clu­sion, the gov­ern­ment has rec­om­mended the fol­low­ing: that Mr Ramaphosa con­tin­ues with his fa­cil­i­ta­tion but his ef­forts be aug­mented by other re­gional part­ners; in the re­main­ing weeks lead­ing up to the elec­tions, se­ri­ous ef­fort be put into re­solv­ing out­stand­ing se­cu­rity is­sues within the Army; SADC’S mon­i­tor­ing be ex­tended for at least three months be­yond the elec­tions.”

Con­tacted yes­ter­day on the re­port, and whether it was truly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the en­tire gov­ern­ment, con­sid­er­ing it com­prises three par­ties — LCD, BNP and ABC — which have diver­gent views on the Le­sotho cri­sis, Chief Mo­lapo told the Le­sotho Times:“Look, we formed the coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the LCD, ABC and BNP in 2012.

When par­lia­ment was dis­solved, the ABC had 28 seats, BNP had five, while the LCD had 26 seats. So if one was to take the ABC and BNP seats only, they con­sti­tute the ma­jor­ity of the gov­ern­ment, which is why that re­port is the po­si­tion of the ma­jor­ity.”

The LCD, on the other hand, has dis­missed the re­port, with the party’s Act­ing Sec­re­tary, Tšeliso Mokhosi telling the Le­sotho Times: “That is not the po­si­tion of gov­ern­ment but that of the ABC and BNP. In this coali­tion gov­ern­ment, the LCD is part of the gov­ern­ment and was not rep­re­sented in the re­port.

“The LCD is sat­is­fied with the way the fa­cil­i­ta­tor is con­duct­ing him­self, not be­cause Mr Ramaphosa is do­ing what we, as the LCD wanted, but be­cause we can see that he has sought to strike a bal­ance so that there is peace and sta­bil­ity in Le­sotho.”

FROM left: Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Joang Mo­lapo (above) SADC fa­cil­i­ta­tor South African Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane at the open­ing of par­lia­ment last year.

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