Kamoli exit: Too lit­tle too late?

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis - Ut­loang Ka­jeno

THIS is the most per­ti­nent ques­tion that cries out for an im­par­tial an­swer as Le­sotho teeters in­ex­orably to­wards whether it will fully meet the re­quire­ments for its el­i­gi­bil­ity for be­ing a ben­e­fi­ciary un­der the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA) and Millennium Chal­lenge Cor­po­ra­tion (MCC) ex­tended by the United States.

Briefly, for coun­tries to be el­i­gi­ble for these two fa­cil­i­ties a coun­try must be proven to uphold the rule of law, ba­sic hu­man rights, free en­ter­prise poli­cies, free press, gov­er­nance, trans­parency and cre­ate an in­vestor friendly en­vi­ron­ment for its econ­omy to cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties AGOA of­fers. It’s a coun­try duty free ac­cess to the lu­cra­tive US mar­kets of its goods such as tex­tiles and fab­ric. The US also ex­tends bil­lions in eco­nomic as­sis­tance to such a coun­try in ar­eas cover­ing all fronts such as health, wet­lands re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, ac­cess to wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion, HIV/AIDS erad­i­ca­tion and many other sec­tors.

If a coun­try loses out on AGOA for in­stance, it will be li­able for reeval­u­a­tion for el­i­gi­bil­ity only af­ter a lapse of two years, which is quite a fright­en­ing pos­si­bil­ity.

These are pre­cisely the re­quire­ments for el­i­gi­bil­ity that the US As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Am­bas­sador Linda Thomas-green­field spelt to gov­ern­ment and other stake­hold­ers on her re­cent two-day visit to Le­sotho. In ad­di­tion, the US en­voy be­moaned the fact that for more than a year, gov­ern­ment had been dilly-dal­ly­ing on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) de­ci­sions to bring po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sta­bil­ity to Le­sotho that em­anated from the Phumaphi Com­mis­sion. This Com­mis­sion was ap­pointed as a re­sult of the killing on 25 June 2015 of for­mer army com­man­der, Maa­parankoe Ma­hao, by his col­leagues while al­legedly re­sist­ing ar­rest.

Four rec­om­men­da­tions were adopted as SADC de­ci­sions em­anated from this com­mis­sion, these are in no par­tic­u­lar order: (1) The re­moval of Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli from the helm of the army as the com­mis­sion had gath­ered ev­i­dence that in order to among oth­ers, en­gen­der the in­tegrity and im­age of the army among Ba­sotho; the grant­ing of amnesty to the de­tained sol­diers at Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison whom the com­mis­sion con­cluded had, through co­er­cion, con­fessed to mutiny.

The re­turn of all exiled po­lit­i­cal lead­ers; the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, sus­pen­sion and pros­e­cu­tion through ac- cept­able in­ter­na­tional stan­dards of all peo­ple in­clud­ing sol­diers who were re­spon­si­ble for killing of Ma­hao, mur­der and other crimes and (4) the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­sti­tu­tional, se­cu­rity, judicial and pub­lic sec­tor re­forms as en­cap­su­lated in the SOMILES re­port headed by South Africa’s deputy pres­i­dent and SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor Cyril Ramaphosa. For now, I do not want to deal with the long-term mer­its of re­mov­ing the com­man­der from the helm of the army. That topic be­longs to another day.

Am­bas­sador Thomas-green­field be­moaned the in­tro­duc­tion of the Amnesty Bill 2016 that seeks to pro­vide a blan­ket amnesty to mem­bers of the dis­ci­plined forces and state agents and op­er­a­tives who were sus­pected of hav­ing com­mit­ted crim­i­nal acts from 2007 to 2015. The US en­voy rightly de­scribed this bill as in­tended to in­tro­duce a cul­ture of im­mu­nity.

It is against this rather lengthy back­ground that I in­vite the reader to draw con­clu­sion on whether by re­leas­ing the army com­man­der the gov­ern­ment has done too lit­tle too late. It will be em­pir­i­cally ob­served from the above that Le­sotho has at the time of go­ing to press, only met the first re­quire­ment. As to whether it will im­ple­ment the other re­quire­ments or shall I say SADC de­ci­sions, the na­tion is still wait­ing with bated breath.

How­ever, at the time of go­ing to press only a quar­ter of the re­quire­ments have been met. What is of crit­i­cal cal im­por­tance, how­ever, is that hat re­mov­ing only the army y com­man­der will not be enough gh to qual­ify for el­i­gi­bil­ity.

Draw­ing aw­ing from what the US en­voy y said in her ex­clu­sive in­ter­view rview with the Le­sotho Time­ses in its 3 Novem­ber 2016,, un­der the head­ing: “Le­sothootho faces the boot” it would d ap­pear that Le­sotho to againn be el­i­gi­ble for the two fa­cil­i­ties, ities, a num­ber of re­quire­ments ts have to be met.

In that in­ter­view the US en­voy is quoted say­ing “And the sec­ondnd one (that is, the SADC Con­tin­uestin­ues on page 14 . . .

Lieu­tenant-gen­eral tlali Kamoli.

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