Opposition in diplomatic offensive
THE opposition yesterday embarked on a campaign aimed at forcing government to implement Justice Phumaphi’s recommendations.
A six-member delegation comprising All Basotho Convention (ABC) parliamentary caucus chairperson Majoro Mohapi, Maseru Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Lesego Magkothi, Mosalemane constituency MP Samuel Rapapa, Mabote constituency MP Fako Moshoeshoe, BNP secretary general Lesojane Leuta and BNP treasurer Moliko Mothepu, was tasked with approaching all diplomatic missions in Lesotho and select international organisations to highlight the opposition alliance’s grievances, top among them government’s failure to implement the Botswana judge’s recommendations. The recommendations followed an investigation into the killing of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao by the military. Lt-gen Mahao was allegedly resisting arrest for suspected mutiny when he was killed outside his Mokema farm on 25 June 2015.
According to a letter signed by ABC secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele, BNP deputy leader Joang Molapo and RCL secretary general ‘Mamolula Ntabe, the government needs to be put under pressure to implement the Phumaphi recommendations.
Part of the letter reads: “It is now just over one month since the SADC Double Troika summit of 18 January 2016 received and endorsed the report of the 10-member Commission of Inquiry appointed by SADC in July 2015. The commission was chaired by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi to inquire into the deteriorating security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
“Among the manifestations of such deterioration, and indeed the spur behind the formation of the Commission, was the shooting and killing of Lieutenant-general Maaparankoe Mahao on 25 June 2015.
“In a communiqué issued after its summit the SADC Double Troika, urged the government of Lesotho to implement the commission’s recommendations without exceptions.”
Among some of its recommendations, the Phumaphi Commission said army commander Lt-gen Tlali Kamoli should be sacked “in the interest of restoring trust and acceptance of the LDF to the Basotho nation”.
The commissioners further recommended that “all LDF officers implicated in cases of murder, attempted murder and treason be suspended while investigations into their cases proceed in line with international best practice.”
The probe team further called on government to ensure criminal investigations into the death of Lt-gen Mahao “be pursued vigorously”, leading to “a transparent course of justice”.
The commission also called for the government to ensure the safe return of exiled opposition leaders.
However, the opposition says the government has not implemented any of the recommendations hence the request for assistance.
“Sadly, the government has not, to date, implemented any of the recommendations of the report and is clearly bent on defying SADC in this respect,” the opposition says.
“Lt-gen Kamoli is still the commander of the LDF; intimidations and death threats to opposition MPS, politicians and opposition party members, and lawyers representing detained mutiny suspects have continued; there are rumours that disguised soldiers frequently move around the residences of the victims, forcing one of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) MP to flee last week into South Africa where he is currently in exile.
“Recently, recently Court of Appeal President, Dr Kananelo Mosito was suspended apparently for no reason.
“On the evening of 14 February 2016, four ABC members were shot and killed in a bar in Ha ‘Mantšebo after attending their party’s fundraising fare.
“These are not just a sign of continuing deterioration in Lesotho’s security situation but an indication that the government is not ready to implement the recommendations of the SADC commission, let alone maintain security and law and order in the country.
“The government has also not demonstrated the will to normalise the political situation in general to ensure participation by members of the opposition in parliamentary business that the Speaker has consistently denied them, thus forcing them to boycott the national assembly.”
The statement continues: “While once again appealing to SADC to ensure compliance with its decisions, we also request all friendly states, including the United Nations, to use their usual normal diplomatic ways to persuade the Lesotho government to normalise the political and security situation in the Kingdom for the benefit of all Basotho.”
ABC secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele.