Le­sotho in­sta­bil­ity costs SADC M87m

Lesotho Times - - News - Staff Writer

THE pro­posed South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) in­ter­ven­tion in Le­sotho to help end in­sta­bil­ity and pre­pare the stage for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a raft of se­cu­rity sec­tor, con­sti­tu­tional and gover­nance re­forms is set to gob­ble at least M87 mil­lion, the Le­sotho Times can re­veal.

The bud­get will be used to sup­port a force of mil­i­tary, se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence and civil­ian ex­perts to be de­ployed in Le­sotho to sup­port the govern­ment’s ef­forts to re­store sta­bil­ity. This fol­lows last Fri­day’s SADC one-day Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit in Pre­to­ria, South Africa which was con­vened in light of the 5 Septem­ber, 2017 as­sas­si­na­tion of Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo by his sub­or­di­nates.

Lt-gen Motšo­motšo was shot dead at his Ratjo­mose bar­racks of­fice al­legedly by Bri­gadier Bu­lane Sechele who was ac­com­pa­nied by Colonel Tefo Hashatsi and Ma­jor Pitso Ramoepane. Brig Sechele was killed in a hail of bul­lets by Lt-gen Motšo­motšo’s body­guards soon af­ter­wards, while Col Hashatsi died of his wounds in a nearby hos­pi­tal. Maj Ramoepane was last week charged with mur­der­ing Lt-gen Motšo­motšo in the Mag­is­trate’s Court. Lt-gen Motšo­motšo was laid to rest in his home vil­lage of Ha Le­saoana in Butha-buthe.

And at the Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit, SADC ac­qui­esced to the Le­sotho govern­ment’s re­quest for a standby force com­pris­ing mil­i­tary, se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence and civil­ian ex­perts to as­sist the LDF in man­ag­ing the se­cu­rity cri­sis in the coun­try.

The sum­mit was at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the gov­ern­ments of An­gola, Mozam­bique, Namibia, South Africa, Swazi­land and Tan­za­nia. SADC doc­u­ments from the sum­mit seen by the Le­sotho Times show that the SADC sec­re­tar­iat pre­pared a US$5, 8 mil­lion bud­get for the pro­posed de­ploy­ment of troops to Le­sotho.

“Given the volatile se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion with se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for the po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity of the King­dom of Le­sotho, there is an ur­gent need to as­sist the coun­try in restor­ing law and order and a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to among oth­ers, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of SADC de­ci­sions specif­i­cally, se­cu­rity sec­tor and con­sti­tu­tional re­forms,” part of the SADC doc­u­ment states.

Al­though SADC lead­ers di­rected the heads of de­fence and se­cu­rity “to as­sess the re­quire­ments, de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate size of the con­tin­gent force and pre­pare the modal­i­ties for the de­ploy­ment,” the doc­u­ments show that the bud­get is for at least 1000 per­son­nel in­clud­ing mil­i­tary, po­lice and civil­ian ex­perts.

“The sec­re­tar­iat pre­pared a draft op­er­a­tional con­cept and bud­get of US$5 810 431 (about M76 mil­lion) for the pro­posed de­ploy­ment of a bat­tal­ion strength in­clud­ing mil­i­tary, po­lice and civil­ian ex­perts with an es­ti­mated ca­pac­ity of 1000 per­son­nel),” the doc­u­ment states. A fur­ther bud­get of US$846 120 (about M11 mil­lion) was ap­proved for the “ex­panded man­date of the Over­sight Com­mit­tee to be with­drawn from the Con­tin­gency Fund”.

This will bring the over­all cost of SADC in­volve­ment in Le­sotho to M87 mil­lion.

Led by re­tired Tan­za­nian judge, Jus­tice Fred­eric Mwita Werema, and ini­tially made up of 10 mem­bers, the Over­sight Com­mit­tee was es­tab­lished by an ex­tra­or­di­nary sum­mit of the Dou­ble Troika on 3 July 2015 in Pre­to­ria, South Africa to mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of SADC de­ci­sions re­gard­ing the po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Le­sotho.

The com­mit­tee was also tasked with pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­sti­tu­tional, se­cu­rity and pub­lic sec­tor re­forms in Le­sotho. Last Fri­day’s sum­mit sub­se­quently ap­proved an ex­panded man­date and com­po­si­tion of 34 mem­bers of the SADC Over­sight Com­mit­tee to in­clude mil­i­tary, se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence and civil­ian ex­perts to be de­ployed to Le­sotho im­me­di­ately for a month. And ac­cord­ing to the pro­posed bud­get at the Fri­day sum­mit, the head of mis­sion of the Over­sight Com­mit­tee will re­ceive an al­lowance of US$400 ( about M5200) for a 30-day bring­ing the to­tal to US$12 000 (about M156 000).

The 34 mil­i­tary, po­lice and civil­ian de­tails on the com­mit­tee will each re­ceive US$250 per day (M3250) for 30 days, bring­ing the com­bined to­tal to US$255 000 (about M3,3 mil­lion). Three SADC sec­re­tar­iat staff will each re­ceive US$250 per day (M3250) for 30 days, bring­ing the com­bined to­tal to US$22 500 (M292 500).

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