LESOTHO CAN’T BE ON SADC AGENDA FOREVER - ZUMA
PRETORIA - Chairperson of t he S outhern Afri c a Development Community (SADC) - South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma - on Friday appealed to the authorities and the people of Lesotho to work together to ensure peace and stability in the small mountain kingdom.
“As SADC, we cannot and shall not be in Lesotho forever. We desire to have Lesotho off the SADC agenda soonest,” Zuma told a Double Troika of Heads of State and Government in Pretoria.
“It is unfortunate and regrettable that as we gather here this afternoon that the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Lt-General (Khoantle) Motsomotso, who was with us here in this very building three weeks ago during the SADC Summit, tragically lost his life in a senseless killing.”
Motsomotso was killed earlier in September, while two senior officers who were allegedly responsible for the murder, were also killed in a shoot-out at a barracks in Lesotho’s capital Maseru.
Eyewitnesses said the officers burst into the army chief’s office and shot him, before being killed by guards. Zuma said the assassination of Motsomotso typifies a dangerous pattern of targeted killings in South Africa’s neighbour. “The tragic death of General Motsomotso should not be allowed to pass by unnoticed by our regional organisation, especially because it happens two years after the killing of another former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao in June 2015,” said Zuma.
“The assassination of General Motsomotso, therefore, sets a dangerous pattern in that country. The prevailing situation in this sister country should not be allowed to continue forever as if, it is business as usual. There is a need for decisive action by the region.”
During a SADC summit held in August, the Lesotho government reassured the regional bloc that it would implement all SADC decisions and develop a time-bound roadmap for reform in various sectors including the constitution, parliament, security, the public sector and judiciary.
“We believe that the Kingdom can only achieve lasting and sustainable stability once these reforms are implemented,” Zuma said.
SADC Chairperson - South African President Jacob Zuma.