Call for tar­get­ted sanc­tions against govt of­fi­cials

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

A coali­tion of non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions (ngo), the law So­ci­ety and col­lege of chiefs has called on Ba­sotho “to rise and act to re­solve and pro­tect their coun­try from the ap­par­ent political void em­a­nat­ing from political de­ci­sions that do not pri­or­i­tize the well-be­ing of or­di­nary cit­i­zens”.

the group also wants the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to im­pose tar­geted sanc­tions against govern­ment of­fi­cials to en­sure re­spect for the rule of law in le­sotho.

the clus­ter says with­hold­ing aid to the King­dom would hurt in­no­cent cit­i­zens and not the au­thor­i­ties, hence their call for sanc­tions against in­di­vid­u­als.

the group is not happy that the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment com­mu­nity (SADC) has failed to re­lease the Phumaphi in­quiry re­port be­cause of a court case launched by lieu­tenant-colonel tefo Hashatsi chal­leng­ing the probe’s le­git­i­macy.

the in­quiry, which was sanc­tioned by SADC, sought to es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of for­mer army com­man­der, lieu­tenant-gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao in June this year.

lt-gen Ma­hao was shot by his col­leagues out­side Maseru al­legedly as he re­sisted ar­rest for sus­pected mutiny and de­spite the Phumaphi probe’s com­ple­tion two months ago, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s re­port be­ing sub­mit­ted to the re­gional body early this month, the find­ings are yet to be made pub­lic due to lt-col Hashatsi’s court chal­lenge.

How­ever, at its meet­ing held in Maseru on Mon­day this week, the clus­ter re­solved to ap­peal to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to main­tain pres­sure on govern­ment con­cern­ing the re­port and the gen­eral rule of law in the coun­try.

“We are con­cerned that the govern­ment of le­sotho is de­ter­mined to use a le­gal tech­ni­cal­ity to de­lay the re­lease of the SADC com­mis­sion’s re­port, and that there is a pat­tern emerg­ing in le­sotho where mil­i­tary in­flu­ence per­vades political and gov­er­nance struc­tures,” reads the group’s state­ment is­sued af­ter the meet­ing.

“We, as non-state ac­tors, find it duty bound to ro­bustly en­gage govern­ment in de­fense of democ­racy. Un­less mea­sures are taken to re-as­sert civil­ian au­thor­ity over the mil­i­tary, democ­racy in le­sotho would be as good as non-ex­is­tent.

“the re­cent de­ci­sion of the Amer­i­can govern­ment to sus­pend the Mil­len­nium chal­lenge cor­po­ra­tion compact to le­sotho un­til mil­i­tary-linked hu­man rights abuses are ad­dressed and the SADC re­port is re­leased, af­firms our con­cerns.”

the clus­ter said it was con­vinced that Ba­sotho should tackle their prob­lems with the help of their neigh­bours and or­gan­i­sa­tions such as SADC, not the other way round.

the group fur­ther said it was “con­vinced that the govern­ment’s de­vel­op­ment of a political will that rises above parochial le­gal tech­ni­cal­i­ties and party pol­i­tick­ing will only help take le­sotho out of the pre­vail­ing political quag­mire”.

it also called upon govern­ment to re­main in the SADC process and not “al­low such an im­por­tant in­quiry, with political and eco­nomic sig­nif­i­cance to the liveli­hood of many or­di­nary cit­i­zens, to be ob­structed.”

“More­over, this process has im­pli­ca­tions for le­sotho’s rat­ing on the rule of law, re- spect for hu­man rights, ac­count­abil­ity and other prin­ci­ples of good gov­er­nance, all em­braced in the coali­tion agree­ment.”

the group wants SADC “to ap­ply its mind care­fully on the stance of the govern­ment of Le­sotho on this mat­ter and to act firmly and promptly to en­sure that the out­come of the in­quiry into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death of lt-gen Ma­hao is ac­cepted by Le­sotho govern­ment and a clearly de­fined course of ac­tion for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions is de­vel­oped forth­with”.

the coali­tion fur­ther wants SADC and le­sotho govern­ment to “ap­pre­ci­ate that the in­quiry has the po­ten­tial to make or de­stroy peace and the unity of Ba­sotho”, and wants lt-col Hashatsi’s case to be con­cluded “not later than Jan­uary 2016”.

the state­ment con­tin­ues: “the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must add their voice to this call, firmly main­tain pres­sure on the govern­ment and take cor­rec­tive puni­tive mea­sures that are tar­geted.

“in line with our pre­vi­ous calls, we main­tain that tar­geted sanc­tions be ap­plied in­stead of im­pos­ing neg­a­tive eval­u­a­tion on the coun­try that shall have po­ten­tial detri­men­tal im­pli­ca­tions on the cit­i­zenry.

“in re­la­tion to AGOA, for ex­am­ple, more than 46 000 jobs would be lost in the tex­tile in­dus­try, with dele­te­ri­ous ef­fects on busi­ness, trans­port and liveli­hoods in gen­eral, should the US govern­ment take in­dis­crim­i­nate ac­tion.

“We call upon SADC to for­malise links with lo­cal struc­tures and pro­cesses, as in the case of the ‘Post-masire Process’, in or­der to max­i­mize the ben­e­fits of com­bined ex­ter­nal and lo­cal pro­cesses and also fa­cil­i­tate own­er­ship of the so­lu­tion.”

In line with our pre­vi­ous calls, we main­tain that tar­geted sanc­tions be ap­plied in­stead of im­pos­ing neg­a­tive eval­u­a­tion on the coun­try that shall have po­ten­tial detri­men­tal im­pli­ca­tions on the cit­i­zenry

The late Lt-gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

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