Mahao family seeks closure

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE family of slain former army commander, Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao on Sunday called on the government to implement the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recommendations and bring closure on the tragedy.

Implementation of the recommendations would also ensure the country continues to receive assistance from development partners, the deceased’s brother and family spokesperson, Lehloenya Mahao, announced at an All Basotho Convention (ABC) rally held in Qoaling.

Lt-Gen Mahao was fatally shot by his colleagues on 25 June 2015 just outside Maseru. The LDF announced Lt-Gen Mahao was resisting arrest when he was killed, which the family has dismissed as untrue.

After the killing, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asked SADC to help establish the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, resulting in a Commission of Inquiry led by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi of Botswana. The 10-member commission carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015 and recommended, among other things, that government should investigate the killing and prosecute those found to be responsible.

“The government’s defiant attitude over the implementation of the SADC recommendations has left us with no option but to lobby for support from this country’s development partners like the United Nations, United States and European Union. This is why you see them writing to the government a year after the killing. As a family, we just want government to comply with the recommendations,” said Mr Mahao.

According to Mr Mahao, the family would like to see more investors coming to Lesotho and the only way to ensure this happens is for government to create a peaceful and stable environment.

“Basotho are already suffering and many are losing their jobs while investors are also skeptical about investing in this country. The issue is straightforward; we don’t support sanctions, but failure to implement the recommendations could mean sanctions and it’s not what we want for our people and country.”

He also said it was hypocritical for government to accuse the family of unpatriotic behaviour in seeking external assistance in their fight for justice.

“Don’t be misled by people who preach patriotism when they don’t show it themselves. If our leaders are silent when Basotho are being killed, then it is them who lack patriotism because there cannot be a Lesotho without Basotho,” Mr Mahao said.

“This is not about patriotism; it’s simply about implementing the recommendations of the SADC Commission. The family only wants government to ensure the rule of law. If they were patriotic they would implement the recommendations and then we wouldn’t have had to go and lobby support from other countries and agencies.”

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