Ma­hao fam­ily seeks clo­sure

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE fam­ily of slain for­mer army com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao on Sun­day called on the govern­ment to im­ple­ment the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) rec­om­men­da­tions and bring clo­sure on the tragedy.

Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions would also en­sure the country con­tin­ues to re­ceive as­sis­tance from de­vel­op­ment part­ners, the de­ceased’s brother and fam­ily spokesper­son, Lehloenya Ma­hao, an­nounced at an All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) rally held in Qoal­ing.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was fa­tally shot by his col­leagues on 25 June 2015 just out­side Maseru. The LDF an­nounced Lt-gen Ma­hao was re- sist­ing ar­rest when he was killed, which the fam­ily has dis­missed as un­true.

Af­ter the killing, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili asked SADC to help es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the tragedy, re­sult­ing in a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi of Botswana.

The 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion car­ried out its in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­tween 31 Au­gust and 23 Oc­to­ber 2015 and rec­om­mended, among other things, that govern­ment should in­ves­ti­gate the killing and prose­cute those found to be re­spon­si­ble.

“The govern­ment’s de­fi­ant at­ti­tude over the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SADC rec­om­men­da­tions has left us with no op­tion but to lobby for sup­port from this country’s de­vel­op­ment part­ners like the United Na­tions, United States and Euro­pean Union. This is why you see them writ­ing to the govern­ment a year af­ter the killing. As a fam­ily, we just want govern­ment to com­ply with the rec­om­men­da­tions,” said Mr Ma­hao.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Ma­hao, the fam­ily would like to see more in­vestors com­ing to Le­sotho and the only way to en­sure this hap­pens is for govern­ment to cre­ate a peace­ful and stable en­vi­ron­ment.

“Ba­sotho are al­ready suf­fer­ing and many are los­ing their jobs while in­vestors are also skep­ti­cal about in­vest­ing in this country. The is­sue is straight­for­ward; we don’t sup­port sanc­tions, but fail­ure to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions could mean sanc­tions and it’s not what we want for our peo­ple and country.”

He also said it was hyp­o­crit­i­cal for govern­ment to ac­cuse the fam­ily of un­pa­tri­otic be­hav­iour in seek­ing ex­ter­nal as­sis­tance in their fight for jus­tice.

“Don’t be misled by peo­ple who preach pa­tri­o­tism when they don’t show it them­selves. If our lead­ers are silent when Ba­sotho are be­ing killed, then it is them who lack pa­tri­o­tism be­cause there can­not be a Le­sotho with­out Ba­sotho,” Mr Ma­hao said.

“This is not about pa­tri­o­tism; it’s sim­ply about im­ple­ment­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the SADC Com­mis­sion. The fam­ily only wants govern­ment to en­sure the rule of law. If they were pa­tri­otic they would im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions and then we wouldn’t have had to go and lobby sup­port from other coun­tries and agen­cies.”

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