Op­po­si­tion in diplo­matic of­fen­sive

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

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.

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