GIVE MONAR­CHY CON­TROL OF THE ARMY – SADC DE­FENCE

Observer on Saturday - - News - By King’s Of­fice Correspondent

Pre­to­ria, South Africa –If SADC De­fence chiefs would have their way, Le­sotho’s monar­chy would as­sume the po­si­tion of Com­man­derin-Chief of the Le­sotho Na­tional De­fence Force.

This, it is be­lieved, would pro­vide a leader in mat­ters to do with the se­cu­rity forces that are seen to be at log­ger­heads and the cause of con­flict in the king­dom.

It is one of sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions put to SADC lead­ers by the Ex­tra Or­di­nary meet­ing of De­fence Sub­Com­mit­tee (DSC) held on Septem­ber 12-13, 2017.

It was noted by the ur­gent Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit con­vened by SADC Chair­per­son Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma of South Africa yes­ter­day, which was at­tended by his Majesty King Mswati III.The King had left for South Africa early in the morn­ing and re­turned in the coun­try last night.

It was em­pha­sised, how­ever, that what­ever changes are made to the Con­sti­tu­tion, the process should be fully con­sul­ta­tive so that the de­ci­sions are owned by the peo­ple of Le­sotho.

His Majesty the King was among the lead­ers who fur­ther en­dorsed a pre­lim­i­nary­in­ter­ven­tion in the volatile se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Le­sotho.

The Dou­ble Troika was con­vened fol­low­ing the as­sas­si­na­tion of the Com­man­der of the Le­sotho Na­tional De­fence Force Lt. Gen­eral Khoan­tle Mot­so­motso on Septem­ber 5, 2017, by se­nior army of­fi­cials who were also gunned down in the process.

The Troika was in­formed that the Gen­eral was killed for im­ple­ment­ing SADC rec­om­men­da­tions.

This is the sec­ond Army Gen­eral to be killed fol­low­ing that of Lt. Gen. Maa­parankoe Ma­hao on June 25, 2015.

Ma­hao’s killers are also linked to the lat­est killing of the army chief who was pre­par­ing to hand over all the sus­pects in the army to the po­lice for pros­e­cu­tion. Among the de­ci­sions en­dorsed yes­ter­day in­clude send­ing an ad­di­tional 34 mem­ber Over­sight Com­mit­tee to Le­sotho for 30 days.

De­fence Chiefs are also ex­pected to visit Le­sotho to de­ter­mine the need and size of a SADC Standby Force of a Bat­tal­ion strength, com­pris­ing the mil­i­tary, po­lice and civil­ian com­po­nents.

If all goes ac­cord­ing to ex­pec­ta­tions, Le­sotho will see an amend­ment to the na­tional Con­sti­tu­tion and other pieces of leg­is­la­tion in or­der to clar­ify the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers of the po­lice and the army.

Em­pow­er­ment

It has also been rec­om­mended that these re­forms should in­clude among others, the em­pow­er­ment of the Monar­chy to be the Com­man­der-in­Chief of the Le­sotho De­fence Force.

The lead­ers also ap­proved the de­ploy­ment of a con­tin­gency force com­pris­ing mil­i­tary se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence and civil­ian ex­perts to sup­port the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho in the fol­low­ing:

To strengthen peace and se­cu­rity, im­ple­ment se­cu­rity sec­tor re­forms and im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions of the SADC Com­mis­sion of En­quiry;

Mon­i­tor and en­sure that the rule of law is com­plied with in the process of im­ple­ment­ing the En­quiry rec­om­men­da­tions

Iden­tify im­me­di­ate ar­eas of pri­or­ity that are to be im­ple­mented ur­gently, in­clud­ing the spe­cific amend­ments in the con­sti­tu­tion, and amend­ments of the LDF and LMPS Acts with a view to en­sur­ing sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers be­tween the army and po­lice;

To sup­port Le­sotho in un­der­tak­ing re­train­ing of its per­son­ally, es­pe­cially in the area of Civil Mil­i­tary Re­la­tions (CIMIC);

Mon­i­tor and as­sist where nec­es­sary, in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the as­sas­si­na­tion of Lt. Gen. Mot­so­motso and other al­leged killings in Le­sotho;

To lend as­sis­tance in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­sti­tu­tional, pub­lic and se­cu­rity sec­tor re­forms and mon­i­tor im­ple­men­ta­tion of SADC de­ci­sions.

The Troika fur­ther di­rected the chiefs of de­fence and se­cu­rity to as­sess the re­quire­ments, de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate size of the con­tin­gent force and to pre­pare the modal­i­ties for the de­ploy­ment by Septem­ber 22, 2017, based on which the sec­re­tar­iat should fa­cil­i­tate an ur­gent de­ploy­ment by Novem­ber 1, 2017. In his open­ing re­marks, Chair­per­son of Troika South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, con­veyed SADC’s con­do­lences to the peo­ple of Le­sotho and the de­ceased’s fam­ily and fur­ther con­demned the killings in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms.

He ap­plauded Le­sotho’s com­mit­ment to the re­forms rec­om­mended by SADC and as­sured the moun­tain King­dom of the or­gans full sup­port.

Le­sotho Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, told the Dou­ble Troika that the pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion was re­gret­table but em­pha­sised that the Le­sotho gov­ern­ment was in full agree­ment with the rec­om­men­da­tions pro­posed by SADC.

Pres­i­dent Jose Ed­uardoDos San­tos of An­gola was praised for his prompt de­ploy­ment of a fact find­ing mis­sion af­ter the shoot­ings.

The king­dom of Le­sotho had re­cently been con­grat­u­lated for a suc­cess­ful peace­ful elec­tion that saw the cur­rent prime min­is­ter as­sume the po­si­tion. This was seen as a re­turn to nor­mal­ity fol­low­ing the strife that had en­gulfed the coun­try which re­quired SADC in­ter­ven­tion.

With the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion de­scribed as sta­ble, there is great un­cer­tainty over what lies ahead.

(Pic: Len Mo­hale - State Pho­tog­ra­pher)

BAYETHE: His Majesty with SADC Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Dr Lawrence Tax at the Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day.

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