Op­po­si­tionOp meetsme in SA forfo cru­cial ind­abaind

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

THE lead­er­ship of the op­po­si­tion al­liance holds a cru­cial meet­ing in Ficks­burg, South Africa, to­day to chart the way for­ward fol­low­ing the re­lease of the Phumaphi re­port early this month.

The al­liance’s 55 Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) are ex­pected to dis­cuss the re­port into Le­sotho’s in­sta­bil­ity and their on-go­ing boy­cott of par­lia­ment, with their ex­iled lead­ers.

All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader Thomas Tha­bane, his Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) coun­ter­parts Keketso Ran­tšo and Th­e­sele ‘ Maserib­ane, have been liv­ing in South Africa since they fled Le­sotho in May last year claim­ing the mil­i­tary was plot­ting to kill them.

The lead­ers’ ex­ile was ad­dressed in the Phumaphi re­port re­leased in par­lia­ment on 8 Fe­bru­ary by Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

The South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) com­mis­sioned Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi to lead a 10-mem­ber team of le­gal and se­cu­rity ex­perts in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the kill- ing of for­mer army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao on 25 June last year and Le­sotho’s other se­cu­rity-re­lated is­sues. Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Ma­hao was shot dead by his col­leagues who had come to ar­rest him for al­legedly be­ing the rin­gleader of a group of Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) mem­bers plot­ting a mutiny.

Af­ter the killing, Dr Mo­sisili re­quested SADC to help es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the tragedy, re­sult­ing in the Phumaphi Com­mis­sion of In­quiry which con­ducted its in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­tween 31 Au­gust and 23 Oc­to­ber 2015.

Af­ter the probe, Jus­tice Phumaphi pro­duced a re­port, in which he also made some rec­om­men­da­tions re­gard­ing the coun­try’s re­turn to sta­bil­ity.

Among the rec­om­men­da­tions was that govern­ment should en­sure the safe re­turn of the three ex­iled op­po­si­tion lead­ers, as well as se­cu­rity re­forms.

How­ever, none of the rec­om­men­da­tions have been im­ple­mented, with Dr Mo­sisili an­nounc­ing govern­ment would only ef­fect those which are im­ple­mentable.

BNP deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times that to­day’s meet­ing would dis­cuss the way for­ward, in par­tic­u­lar the MPS’ par­lia­ment boy­cott, which sources say has di­vided the op­po­si­tion.

The leg­is­la­tors started boy­cotting sit­tings in June last year to protest their lead­ers’ ex­ile and govern­ment’s al­leged fail­ure to bring LtGen Ma­hao’s killers to book.

The MPS re­turned to par­lia­ment when Dr Mo­sisili tabled the Phumaphi re­port but walked out as the prime min­is­ter was ad­dress­ing the House re­gard­ing his de­ci­sion to ex­punge cer­tain sec­tions of the doc­u­ment be­cause of their sen­si­tive na­ture.

The fol­low­ing day, the MPS were back in the House but walked out again af­ter the Speaker, Ntl­hoi Mot­samai, sus­pended four of their mem­bers for un­ruly be­hav­iour.

How­ever, the leg­is­la­tors boy­cotted last week’s bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion in par­lia­ment by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr ‘Mam­phono Khaketla.

Ac­cord­ing to Chief Mo­lapo, the boy­cott and Phumpahi re­port would top the agenda at to­day’s meet­ing.

“We are go­ing to be talk­ing about our boy­cott of par­lia­ment, and other per­ti­nent is­sues, in­clud­ing the Phumaphi re­port,” said Chief Mo­lapo.

BNP deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo.

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