Op­po­si­tion ta­bles de­mands to SADC

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

the tri­par­tite op­po­si­tion bloc yes­ter­day sub­mit­ted a cat­a­logue of de­mands to SADC fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho Cyril Ramaphosa which, among oth­ers, calls for the re­moval of the Le­sotho De­fence Force com­mand and ar­rest of for­mer army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao’s killers.

Dubbed “Mem­o­ran­dum of Con­cerns”, the pe­ti­tion was sub­mit­ted to Mr Ramaphosa who yes­ter­day jet­ted into the coun­try and met Dr Mo­sisili and mem­bers of the coali­tion govern­ment, the op­po­si­tion as well as civil and faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions, be­fore leav­ing for Mozam­bique to brief Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi who is the chair­per­son of the SADC or­gan on Pol­i­tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion.

In a press briefing held af­ter the meet­ing, tlali Khasu, Joang Mo­lapo and Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko who are the deputy lead­ers of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) re­spec­tively, said the pe­ti­tion was meant to “re­store nor­malcy, peace and sta­bil- ity” in Le­sotho.

Dr Phooko, who read out the doc­u­ment, said Mr Ramaphosa, who is also South African vice-pres­i­dent, promised to sub­mit it to Mr Nyusi.

Ac­cord­ing to the “Mem­o­ran­dum of Con­cerns”, SADC had failed to rein in the “glar­ingly hor­ren­dous” crimes com­mit­ted by state agents “at the con­nivance of the rulers”.

“SADC has nei­ther been able to halt, as it in­structed on 3 July 2015, the Court Mar­tial un­til the com­ple­tion by the Com­mis­sion of its task. “Con­tin­u­ing with the courts-mar­tial has meant the con­tin­u­a­tion of tor­ture for the mutiny sus­pects,” the pe­ti­tion notes.

“the govern­ment of Le­sotho has main­tained a nar­ra­tive in pub­lic that it has agree­ment with SADC to con­tinue the courts-mar­tial and SADC has not de­nied this. SADC has not re­sponded to any of sev­eral let­ters ad­dressed to it by the three op­po­si­tion par­ties who are the com­plainants.”

the par­ties call on SADC to, not only re­lease the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry’s re­port, but to “as­sure Ba­sotho that it has the ca­pac­ity and will to en­force both its treaty and the rec­om­men­da­tions of the (Jus­tice Mpa­phi) Phumaphi com­mis­sion.

“At the min­i­mum, SADC should as­sist Le­sotho with the fol­low­ing ac­tions:

l“tem­po­rar­ily (six to 12 months) re­place the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­mand with SADC com­mand to elim­i­nate politi­ci­sa­tion and re­store nor­malcy and pro­mote pro­fes­sion­al­ism;

lar­rest all LDF of­fi­cers in­volved di­rectly and in­di­rectly in the killing of Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao;

lar­rest all civil­ians and politi­cians in­volved di­rectly and in­di­rectly in the killing of Lt Gen Ma­hao;

lar­rest ev­ery­one in­volved di­rectly or indi- rectly in the plan­ning and ex­e­cut­ing a coup d’état of 2014;

ltem­porar­ily re­place Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice com­mand with SADC po­lice com­mand to elim­i­nate politi­ci­sa­tion and re­store nor­malcy and pro­mote pro­fes­sion­al­ism in the po­lice ser­vice;

lre­store the rule of law and the in­de­pen­dence of the ju­di­ciary by sev­er­ing the chan­nel of in­flu­ence and in­tim­i­da­tion on the ju­di­ciary. Re­move both the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion (Le­aba thet­sane (King’s Coun­sel)) and At­tor­ney Gen­eral (tšokolo Makhethe), both whom are po­lit­i­cally bi­ased and un­der­mine peo­ple’s faith in jus­tice.”

Chief Mo­lapo said fol­low­ing his visit to Le­sotho, Mr Ramaphosa was sup­posed to meet with Mr Nyusi and give him feed­back on the meet­ings he had with the govern­ment, op­po­si­tion, Ma­hao fam­ily and other stake­hold­ers.

“Mr Ramaphosa told the op­po­si­tion that mem­bers of the govern­ment told him to his face that they won’t ac­cept the SADC Com­mis­sion re­port be­fore the judge­ment of the court case,” said Chief Mo­lapo.

“he (Mr Ramaphosa) said the govern­ment did not want to hear what the SADC con­sti­tu­tional and law ex­perts had to say about the is­sue, but in­sisted that the com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions were not pros­e­cutable and could be blocked by do­mes­tic laws.”

the BNP deputy leader said Mr Ramaphosa had in­ti­mated that it was up to Mr Nyusi to de­cide whether to re­lease the re­port or not in the con­text of the (Lieu­tenant-colonel tefo hashatsi’s court chal­lenge) court case judge­ment or call for an or­gan troika sum­mit to de­cide on the way for­ward.

“Mr Ramaphosa also promised to come back soon to up­date us on the way for­ward be­cause the SADC con­sti­tu­tional and law ex­perts that were with him told him that hashatsi had no right to sue the SADC com­mis­sion of in­quiry,” Chief Mo­lapo said.

LEFT TO RIGHT: BNP deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo, ABC deputy leader Tlali Khasu and RCL deputy leader Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko at yes­ter­day’s press con­fer­ence.

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