Govt warned over SADC rec­om­men­da­tions

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

An­a­lysts have warned gov­ern­ment against reneg­ing on its promise to im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions made by the south­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into le­sotho’s se­cu­rity and po­lit­i­cal chal­lenges.the com­men­ta­tors say fail­ure to ef­fect the rec­om­men­da­tions could see le­sotho be­ing shunned by its SADC neigh­bours and devel­op­ment part­ners, re­sult­ing in more suf­fer­ing for or­di­nary Ba­sotho be­cause such sanc­tions would ad­versely af­fect the econ­omy.

the pun­dits were re­act­ing to Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili’s speech in par­lia­ment this week, where he crit­i­cized the Com­mis­sion and its find­ings be­fore say­ing the gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing its rec­om­men­da­tions.sadc com­mis­sioned the probe fol­low­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of for­mer army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao by fel­low le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) mem­bers on 25 June 2015.

the Com­mis­sion, led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi of Botswana, com­piled a re­port af­ter its in­ves­ti­ga­tion which took place be­tween 31 Au- gust and 23 Oc­to­ber 2015, and made sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions it hoped could re­store nor­malcy to le­sotho.

Among the rec­om­men­da­tions was the re­moval of army com­man­der lieu­tenant-gen­eral tlali Kamoli, crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the death of lt-gen Ma­hao should be started and lead to pros­e­cu­tion, con­sti­tu­tional re­forms, the sus­pen­sion of LDF of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in cases of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and trea­son while in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the al­le­ga­tions pro­ceed in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice, as well as amnesty for the 23 soldiers fac­ing mutiny charges be­fore the Court Mar­tial.

In an in­ter­view af­ter Dr Mo­sisili’s state­ment, le­sotho Coun­cil of non-govern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tions (lcn) Eco­nomic Jus­tice Co­or­di­na­tor sekonyela Mapetja said the gov­ern­ment had no choice but to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“I heard what the prime min­is­ter said in par­lia­ment and noted how he man­aged to fool the ma­jor­ity of Ba­sotho. He de­cided to hide the real is­sues in the last 10 min­utes of his two-hour speech and in so do­ing, achieved two things which are the same. For his sup­port­ers, his grilling of the re­port con­firmed that gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined not to im­ple­ment the Com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions, while for his ad­ver­saries, it be­came clear that he is still ar­ro­gant and also de­ter­mined not to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions,” Mr Mapetja said.

“Both groups de­clared vic­tory and went home when he was half­way through his pre­sen­ta­tion. But the few who per­se­vered to the end were able to find out that gov­ern­ment is left with no other op­tion other than tuck­ing its tail be­tween the legs and im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“But we wel­come the speech es­pe­cially in the third and last part, which is the po­si­tion of gov­ern­ment on the rec­om­men­da­tions. For us, this is where the crux of the mat­ter is al­though we are con­cerned that this salient part comes at the very end of his speech.”

Mr Mapetja also al­leged that the gov­ern­ment had failed to win the sup­port of fel­low SADC states ahead of the re­gional bloc’s sum­mit set for swazi­land in Au­gust this year.

le­sotho was nearly sus­pended from SADC dur­ing its Dou­ble troika sum­mit held in Botswana in Jan­uary this year af­ter Dr Mo­sisili had re­fused to re­ceive the Phumaphi re­port cit­ing an on­go­ing High Court case in which LDF spe­cial Forces Com­man­der lieu­tenant-colonel tefo Hashatsi was chal­leng­ing the le­git­i­macy of the in­quiry. Dr Mo­sisili only ac­cepted the re­port the fol­low­ing day, quash­ing the threat of sus­pen­sion.

“Our anal­y­sis, as the lcn, is that the gov­ern­ment had dis­re­garded the rec­om­men­da­tions on the be­lief that they would con­vince other SADC mem­bers to sup­port them in op­pos­ing the Dou­ble troika’s rec­om­men­da­tions should a de­ci­sion be taken to sus­pend this coun­try from the re­gional body. We be­lieve the gov­ern­ment has failed to lobby for this sup­port, hence this turn­around with this re­port of in­tent.

“For us, the speech would have been a very good up­date if it had been de­liv­ered in February (2016) be­cause expectations this week were tan­gi­ble re­sults and not in­ten­tions.

“But it is up to the Dou­ble troika (Botswana {SADC chair}, Mozam­bique {SADC Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, De­fense and se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion chair}, south Africa, tan­za­nia, swazi­land and Zim­babwe heads of state and gov­ern­ment) when it meets on 28 June and con­cerned sec­tors of Ba­sotho to en­sure the gov­ern­ment does not re­nege on its com­mit­ment, not­with­stand­ing our wel­come of this sober­ness and abil­ity to see real is­sues and com­mit­ment to do the right things by the gov­ern­ment.”

On his part, na­tional Univer­sity of le­sotho po­lit­i­cal science lec­turer, Pro­fes­sor Mafa se­jana­mane, crit­i­cised Dr Mo­sisili’s state­ment which he al­leged only sought to dis­credit the Com­mis­sion.

“First, the prime min­is­ter’s state­ment is not a progress re­port as it was sup­posed to be. Rather, he tried to de­bate the rights and wrongs of the Com­mis­sion in an ef­fort to dis­credit its pro­cesses — some­thing he should have done a long time ago. He should have said this in February when he tabled the Com­mis­sion’s re­port in par­lia­ment,” Prof se­jana­mane said.

“Gov­ern­ment has tried all the tricks in the book to lobby the sup­port of coun­tries such as Botswana and Mozam­bique in de­fy­ing SADC re­gard­ing these rec­om­men­da­tions, to no avail. A del­e­ga­tion led by the deputy prime min­is­ter came back from these coun­tries (ear- ly this year) mum­bling that they will now im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“But SADC wants to put out the fire per­ma­nently in le­sotho by forc­ing the gov­ern­ment to remove Kamoli. Gov­ern­ment can­not claim to be re­form­ing any­thing if they fail to remove Kamoli.”

Prof se­jana­mane shot down Dr Mo­sisili’s pro­posal for gen­eral amnesty for both the 23 soldiers fac­ing mutiny charges be­fore the Court Mar­tial and LDF mem­bers im­pli­cated in se­ri­ous crime.

“the prime min­is­ter is just play­ing to the gallery at the ex­penses of na­tional in­ter­ests. He is gam­bling with the fu­ture of Ba­sotho be­cause you can­not equate vic­tims of crime with the per­pe­tra­tor,” Prof se­jana­mane said.

“If the prime min­is­ter and his gov­ern­ment are do­ing this for pur­poses of de­lay­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of SADC’S rec­om­men­da­tions, they should ex­pect se­ri­ous con­se­quences.

“What they are not aware of is that there is a univer­sal ju­ris­dic­tion that peo­ple who pro­tect crime face the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing im­pris­oned.”

Mean­while, Dr Mo­sisili de­liv­ered Mon­day’s state­ment in the ab­sence of all 55 op­po­si­tion MPS who did not turn up in protest at the gov­ern­ment’s al­leged fail­ure to speed­ily im­ple­ment the SADC rec­om­men­da­tions.

Re­cap of the SADC rec­om­men­da­tions

In the in­ter­est of find­ing peace for the King­dom of le­sotho, and bring­ing clo­sure to the killing of Bri­gadier Ma­hao, the Com­mis­sion prof­fers here be­low, some rec­om­men­da­tions for con­sid­er­a­tion:

lthe Gov­ern­ment of le­sotho should en­sure that the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the death of Bri­gadier Ma­hao be pur­sued vig­or­ously and that the lmps is em­pow­ered and re­sourced ac­cord­ingly. the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be con­ducted ex­pe­di­tiously and com­pre­hen­sively with­out any hin­drances and that all phys­i­cal ev­i­dence be sur­ren­dered. The fi­nal­ity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions should lead to a trans­par­ent course of jus­tice.

lthe gen­eral dis­con­tent of some Ba­sotho with the Com­man­der of LDF, lieu­tenant Gen­eral Kamoli and the con­duct of the LDF un­der his com­mand is dis­con­cert­ing. In the in­ter­est of restor­ing trust and ac­cep­tance of the LDF to the Ba­sotho na­tion, it is strongly rec­om­mended that lieu­tenant Gen­eral Kamoli be re­lieved of his du­ties as Com­man­der LDF, and all LDF of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in cases of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and trea­son be sus­pended while in­ves­ti­ga­tions in their cases pro­ceed in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice.

lthe Com­mis­sion has ob­served that some of the po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity prob­lems pe­cu­liar to the King­dom of le­sotho em­anate from the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Le­sotho. The de­fi­cien­cies and over­laps in the con­sti­tu­tion with re­gard to man­dates of se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions, need to be looked into ur­gently with a com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy to re­form them.

lthe Com­mis­sion has noted that the SADC Ob­server Mis­sion to le­sotho (SOMILES) re­port cov­ers ex­ten­sively the ar­eas of re­form (con­sti­tu­tion, se­cu­rity sec­tor, pub­lic ser­vice and in­for­ma­tion and me­dia) per­tain­ing to the King­dom. to avoid rep­e­ti­tion, the Com­mis­sion there­fore rec­om­mends an ac­cel­er­ated im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­forms en­cap­su­lated in the SOMILES re­port. SADC should come up with a di­rect strat­egy on how to as­sist le­sotho in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of these re­forms, and that the le­sotho Over­sight Com­mit­tee, es­tab­lished by the 3rd July 2015 Dou­ble troika is op­er­a­tionalised.

lev­i­dence be­fore the Com­mis­sion in re­spect of the mutiny, is that the al­leged mu­ti­neers in­tended to kill 13 mem­bers of the LDF. Fur­ther, it shows that some of the com­plainants in the court mar­tial, par­tic­i­pated in the ar­rest of the sus­pects, which is a clear con­flict sit­u­a­tion, as they have per­sonal in­ter­est in the cases. When this ev­i­dence is taken into con­sid­er­a­tion with that of the sus­pects sub­jected to tor­ture, the ob­ject be­ing to ex­tract con­fes­sions from them, as well as the ev­i­dence that lt Gen­eral Kamoli him­self, when he was reap­pointed as Com­man­der of the LDF, stated that he would deal with those who cel­e­brated this ter­mi­na­tion in 2014, it makes the whole case of mutiny highly sus­pect. In these cir­cum­stances, we rec­om­mend a fa­cil­i­ta­tion of an amnesty that will cover the de­tained mutiny sus­pects and en­sure the safe re­turn of all mem­bers of the LDF who have fled Le­sotho in fear for their lives.

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