SADC team ar­rives

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

SADC Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion chair­per­son and Mozam­bique Pres­i­dent Filipe Jac­into Nyusi, this week dis­patched a six-mem­ber team to Le­sotho on a fact-find­ing mis­sion.

The team, led by Mozam­bique Di­rec­tor of Re­gional and Con­ti­nen­tal In­te­gra­tion Joāo Macha­tine Lai­mone Ndlovu, ar­rived in Maseru on Tues­day and is ex­pected to meet var­i­ous stake­hold­ers and dis­cuss the coun­try’s se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion. The mis­sion would also dis­cuss the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi of Botswana, which com­pleted in­ves­ti­gat­ing Le­sotho’s se­cu­rity chal­lenges last month.

Among the stake­hold­ers the team is set to meet are Po­lice Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki, De­fence Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi, For­eign Affairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane (pic­tured), op­po­si­tion party lead­ers, religious lead­ers and civil so­ci­ety.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Sekhamane, Mr Nyusi, who as­sumed the SADC post in Au­gust this year, would want “first-hand in­for­ma­tion” about the Le­sotho sit­u­a­tion and Jus­tice Phumaphi’s probe, hence his de­ci­sion to dis­patch the team.

“Mr Nyusi wants to get the facts for him­self; he would want to find out about Jus­tice Phumaphi’s Com­mis­sion of In­quiry, as well as the sit­u­a­tion on the ground. nd. The team he sent here yes­ter­dayy would be meet­ing with the rel­e­vant t stake­hold­ers be­fore it leaves on Satur­day,” said Mr Sekhamane.

Le­sotho Coun­cil of Non­govern­govern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tions Ex­ec­u­tive tive Di­rec­tor, Se­bata Mot­samai, yes­ter­days­ter­day said he had al­ready met with ith the mis­sion, and was sat­is­fied with the in­ter­ac­tion he had with the team.

“This is the first time thatt we are hav­ing a pres­i­dent send­nd­ing his own peo­ple to con­sul­tult stake­hold­ers over our cha­lal­lenges as a coun­try. I be­lieveve it is be­cause he un­der­stands s the need to han­dle our is­sues care­fully as a re­sult of the ex­pe­ri­ence Mozam­bique has had re­gard­ing con­flict.

“I also be­lieve they came to un­der­stand what could be the pos­si­ble re­sponse from the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion con­cern­ing the Phumaphi Com­mis­sion and the re­port it is ex­pected to re­lease soon. This is a very sen­si­tive mat­ter in a coun­try that con­tin­ues to be deeply di­vided. If the re­port is not han­dled well, it could spark con­flict as the sit­u­a­tion on the ground is still tense,” said Mr Mot­samai.

Mean­while, spec­u­la­tion had been rife that the Phumaphi re­port would be re­leased this week.

How­ever, Min­is­ter Sekhamane said this was highly un­likely as the Com­mis­sion was the sub­ject of lit­i­ga­tion in the High Court.

“The Com­mis­sion was ini­tially given un­til 9 Novem­ber 2015 to com­plete its work but there is a court case by Lieu­tenant-colonel Tefo Hashatsi, in which he is de­mand­ing a num­ber of is­sues con­cern­ing his tes­ti­mony and the re­port it­self.

“The case is to be heard on 2 De­cem­ber. The ques­tion now is whether Phumaphi would sub­mit the re­port or wait for the court judge­ment. The govern­ment has de­cided not to give the judge any or­ders as we have no right to do so,” said Sekhamane.

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