Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

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.

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