SADC mission to gobble M85 million

 

Keiso Mohloboli

A staggering $7.76 million (M85 million) is needed for the on-going Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission to restore political stability in Lesotho, the Lesotho Times has learnt.

Each SADC member-state is expected to contribute to the expenditure, according to a confidential letter written by SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 15 October 2014, informing the 15-nation bloc of the bank account in which to deposit the funds.

Ms Tax further explained the decision to share the costs of the Mission, which started last month and is expected to end with the holding of snap elections in February 2015, was made during the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security  Cooperation extraordinary meeting held in New York on 21 September 2014.

According to the letter, a copy of which the Lesotho Times has managed to obtain, SADC’s richest member, South Africa, is set to contribute the highest amount of $1,55 million (M17 million), while Angola is the second highest contributor with $857,012. Lesotho is expected to pay $398,273 (M4.3million), while the Seychelles contributes the least amount of $26,348. Botswana is set to pay $454,605; Democratic Republic of Congo $461,164; Madagascar $435,752; Malawi $419,905; Mauritius $440,233; Mozambique $446,410; Namibia $443,519; Swaziland $406,250; Tanzania $508,908; Zambia $474,949 and Zimbabwe $426,748.

Ms Tax’s letter reads: “I wish to inform you that the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, at its extraordinary meeting held in New York, USA on 21 September 2014, considered, among other issues, the political and security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

“In this regard, the MCO noted that the Double Troika Summit held on 15 September 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa, directed the Secretariat to prepare a budget for deployment of the Assessment Mission on Politics, Defence and Security Observer Mission in Lesotho.

“In view of the foregoing, the MCO considered and approved a budget of US$7,749,518 for the deployment in the Kingdom of Lesotho; urged SADC Member States to urgently contribute towards the budget for the deployment of the Politics, Defence and Security Observation Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho; urged Member States to urgently remit the assessed contribution per Member States as mandatory contribution and provide additional voluntary contribution for deployment.

“Based on the above MCO decision, and in line with the formula on statutory mandatory annual Member States contributions, the assessed amounts due to be contributed by Member States are as indicated. You are kindly requested to remit your contribution to the following bank account (in Botswana).”

Asked to comment on the issue—and suggestions that South Africa had billed Lesotho M24million for providing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Basotho National Party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, and Lesotho Mounted Police Service Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana with security since their  return from exile in South Africa on 3 September 2014—Government Secretary, Moahloli Mphaka, said: “South Africa has never billed Lesotho. SADC deployed an Observer Mission here to make sure the Windhoek Declaration signed by Lesotho’s coalition government leaders on 30 July 2014, the Pretoria Declaration signed by the same leaders on 2 September 2014 and Maseru Facilitation Declaration signed by all the country’s political leaders on 2 October 2, 2014, were implemented.

“As a result, SADC member states are going to contribute towards the expenditure of the Mission, and not Lesotho on its own.”

Asked about a memorandum presented before cabinet on Tuesday last week by Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso, informing government that he needed M24million to finance the SADC Observer Mission, Mr Mphaka said: “That budget of M24,276,226 was prepared by the Ministry of Finance and was meant to ensure Lesotho would not be left with a huge debt when this is all over.

“The memo or request has since been withdrawn because SADC is going to take care of everything, with us also contributing our share, just like any other SADC member-state.”

Contacted last night to shed more light on the issue, Dr Ketso said: “It is premature for me to discuss Lesotho’s contribution to the SADC Mission because the discussions have not been finalised. I will talk about the issue when the time is right and the matter is ready for public consumption.”

 

Comments are closed.