Ramaphosa to close SADC mission

. . . as se­cu­rity chiefs re­main in limbo

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Keiso Mohloboli

SOUTH­ERN African Devel­op­ment evel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) fa­cil­i­ta­tor ta­tor to Le­sotho, Cyril Ramaphosa, willll to­mor­row of­fi­cially close the bloc’s tech­ni­cal­ni­cal mission in Maseru with the fate of thee ex­iled se­cu­rity chiefs still un­cer­tain, the Sun­day Ex­press has es­tab­lished.

The SADC Ob­server Mis­sion­s­sion in Le­sotho was de­ployed in Le­sotho too re­store po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity af­ter the 30 Au­gustst 2014 in­va­sion of Maseru Cen­tral, Po­lice ce Head­quar­ters and Ha-Mabote Po­lice Sta­tion­tion by mem­bers of the Le­sotho De­fence Force rce (LDF), which for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Thomas homas Tha­bane had de­scribed as a coup at­tempt.ttempt.

The raid, which left one Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice mem­ber dead, trig­gered a chain of un­savoury events s that led to the col­lapse of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment and in­ter­ven­tion by SADC in an ef­fort to avert a com­plete break­down of the he rule of law in the coun­try.

In an in­ter­view with the Sun­day Ex­press on Fri­day, Head of SADC mission in Le­sotho, Fan­nie Phakola said Mr Ramaphosa would of­fi­cially bring to a close the re­gional bloc’s in­ter­ven­tion in Le­sotho tho in a cer­e­mony to be at­tended by Prime e Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

“We will be shut­ting downwn shop in Le­sotho on Tues­day but Mr Ramaphosa maphosa will be here on Mon­day to of­fi­cially y close down the of­fice,” Mr Phakola said.

“A cer­e­mony will be held at the SADC of­fices in which re­marks wouldld then be made by Mr Ramaphosa,sa, Prime Min­is­ter Mo­sisilii and SADC Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Ster­gom­ena Lawrence Tax.”

Spec­u­la­tion has been rife that Mr Ramaphosa would bring with him the LDF’s Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli and Lt Gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao as well as Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana from South Africa.

The trio were sent on a leave of ab­sence in line with the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord (MSA) which was signed on 23 Oc­to­ber 2014 to re­store peace be­tween the agen­cies whose tiff nearly plunged the coun­try into a civil war. This was mainly due to per­son­al­ity clashes be­tween Com­mi­sioner Tšooana and Lt Gen Kamoli.

The ab­sence of the trio was also meant to en­sure peace prevails in Le­sotho in the run-up to the Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tion — a re­sult of the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion also bro­kered by SADC on 2 Octo- ber 2014 through Mr Ramaphosa.

Asked on whether the South African deputy Pres­i­dent would also bring the se­cu­rity chiefs with him, Mr Phakola said he would not specul spec­u­late on the is­sue, say­ing it was bet­ter to w wait for Mr Ramaphosa to give an of­fi­cial ann an­nounce­ment.

“I don’t want to spec­u­late be­cause the re­turn of those s se­cu­rity of­fi­cials has not been of­fi­cially ann an­nounced. Among the rea­sons Ntate Ramap Ramaphosa will be com­ing is to chart the way for for­ward with the new gov­ern­ment on bring bring­ing back those of­fi­cials,” he said.

Con­tacted for c com­ment yes­ter­day, Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tarySec­re­tar Moahloli Mphaka said Mr Ramaphosa’s closing of SADC’s mission to Le­sotho w was also ex­pected to in­clude the is­su­ing of the time­frame for the re­turn of the thre three se­cu­rity of­fi­cials “even though it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean they would re­turn on Mon­day”. “The SADC fa­cil­i­ta­tor Mr Ramaphosa’s sched­ulesche en­tails of­fi­cially hand­ing over SADC busi­ness in Le­sotho back to the newly-elected gov­ern­ment­gove and chart­ing the way for for­ward on the re­turn of Lt Gen Ma Ma­hao, Lt Gen Kamoli and Com­mis­sion­erCommi Tšooana,” Mr MphakaMphak said.

On t their part, Lt Gen Ma­hao and Com­mis­sioner Tšooana told the Sun­day Ex­press yes­ter­dayyest they re­mained in lim­bolim on when they would re­turn­ret home.

Ac­cord­ing to both Lt Gen Ma­hao and COMPOL Tšooana left Le­sotho un­der the aus­pices of SADC and are still wait­ing for the re­gional bloc heads of states and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to “show the way on when we can come home”.ho The duo added that they were ori­ented by their army and po­lice train­ing to obey com­mands made by their su­pe­ri­ors. As a re­sult, they would wait un­til they are told to come back home by SADC and the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho.

SouTh africa Deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

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