What’s the SADC Commission of Inquiry?
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tions as it may find fit for reconciliation, peace and stability. This provision nullifies the view that the Commission may not generate prosecutable material because it is within its right to recommend legal action. In terms of Section 15 of the founding legislation, the Commission may have coercive powers, power to compel testimony and production of certain documentation or anything that it may consider necessary for it to fully investigate the matter for which it is mandated. However, these powers are regulated because they can either be partially or fully granted. Legal Notice 75, Section 5 empowers the Commission to exercise all powers vested in it by Sections 16, 17 and 18 without restriction. This makes the Commission authoritative enough to seek and request any information in whatever form that, in its view, would enable it to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Mahao. In other words, the Commission can request, with authority, anyone for whatever and all are obliged to respond. Some witnesses who hold sensitive information may request to do so in camera unless he or she can prove that the needed material is not relevant to the work of the Commission. In other words, no one can refuse to provide information without justification. This effectively elevates the Commission to a level higher than that of a friendly and voluntary exercise.
Whatever Phumaphi finds and recommends will be presented to SADC. How will SADC manage that? Will it handle Phumaphi differently from Langa? Phumaphi looks at the circumstances surrounding the death but SADC still has its facilitator in the Kingdom and has to establish an Oversight Committee to observe political developments acting as early warning mechanism for timely intervention in consultation with the facilitator.
In other words, Phumaphi may not be everything for Basotho and it would actually be unfair to expect from him more than his mandate. At the end of the day, political leadership in Lesotho will still have to deal with Phumaphi’s recommendations, political leadership will still be tested to do things which they may not have been ready to do previously, will still be faced with a challenge of keeping Lesotho a sovereign equally treated so among sovereigns.