SADC calls on exiled leaders’ return

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Min-of-Sports-Recreation-Thesele-Maseribane-PM-Thom-thabane-Compol-Khothatso-Tsooana-on-Friday-during-the-re-opening-of-the-8th-Parliament
Min-of-Sports-Recreation-Thesele-Maseribane-PM-Thom-thabane-Compol-Khothatso-Tsooana-on-Friday-during-the-re-opening-of-the-8th-Parliament

Staff Reporter

A special meeting on Lesotho convened this week by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) called on exiled opposition leaders to return home by the end of August 2016 while also urging government to “urgently fulfil her commitments through demonstrable implementation” of  the regional bloc’s decisions.

The Double Troika Summit held in Botswana on Tuesday further acknowledged government’s report on recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry into Lesotho’s political and security challenges but also urged the development of “a comprehensive roadmap with clear actions and timeframes in relation to the responses given”.

The summit also approved terms of reference for an Oversight Committee to serve as an early warning mechanism and provide assistance in the implementation of constitutional, security and public sector reforms in Lesotho.

Botswana President Ian Khama (SADC chair), Mozambique President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, South Africa President Jacob Zuma, King Mswati III of Swaziland, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Tanzania Prime Minister Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, whose countries comprise the Double Troika, attended the high-level meeting called to discuss Lesotho’s political and security situation.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, SADC Facilitator to Lesotho and SA Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax also attended the summit.

Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi, who chaired the SADC Commission of Inquiry established to probe the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao on 25 June 2015 by his military colleagues, allegedly while resisting arrest for suspected mutiny, was also at the meeting.

After the highly anticipated summit, the Double Troika issued a communiqué outlining its resolutions.

The summit, the communiqué noted, “received a report as presented by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho regarding progress made on the implementation of Summit Decisions, and urged the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to urgently fulfil her commitments through demonstrable implementation” of the resolutions.

A team comprising experts from the Double Troika’s member-states was also approved to support Lesotho in preparing and holding a technical workshop on security sector reforms, as well as preparing a roadmap for constitutional reforms and their implementation, the statement added.

The summit also urged the reform processes to be “comprehensively inclusive” to ensure the involvement of all stakeholders.

The government is expected to submit a progress report to the SADC heads of state and government summit scheduled for Swaziland in August this year.

Tuesday’s summit also gave the nod for the establishment of an Oversight Committee to be headed by Mozambique in her capacity as the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

On former prime minister and All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane, Basotho National Party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane and Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader Keketso Rantšo who sought refuge in South Africa in May 2015 saying they feared for their lives, the summit resolved to facilitate their return by the end of August this year.

“The summit called upon the opposition leaders in exile to return by the end of August 2016 and to participate in the on-going reforms. To this effect, the summit directed the Double Troika, supported by the Facilitator, to assist on their return, and report progress to the next Summit in August 2016,” the communiqué added.

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