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LCD hails Ramaphosa mediation


…ABC not entirely happy with his facilitation in Lesotho’s political and security crises   

Billy Ntaote

Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) Acting Secretary General, Tšeliso Mokhosi, has hailed the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, for his “genuine and tireless” efforts to find a lasting solution to Lesotho’s prevailing instability.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last month appointed Mr Ramaphosa to mediate in the Kingdom’s on-going political and security challenges, and has since made a breakthrough in what was increasingly becoming the regional bloc’s worst nightmares.

South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, as well as his predecessor, Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba, had met with little success in their mediation efforts, with the country inching closer to the brink with each passing day—until Mr Ramaphosa burst onto the scene.

Mr Ramaphosa’s first breakthrough was facilitating the signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration by all the country’s political leaders on 2 October 2014. Under the agreement,  parliament was to reopen on 17 October following its nine-month suspension on 10 June 2014 by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to avoid a no-confidence vote, dissolved early December this year and early elections held in February 2015, instead of the original date of 2017.

This roadmap followed the collapse of the coalition government comprising the LCD, All Basotho Convention (ABC), and Basotho National Party (BNP), which came to power after the 26 May 2012 general election had failed to produce a single party with an outright majority of parliamentary seats.

Mr Ramaphosa made yet another breakthrough last Thursday when he facilitated the signing of the Maseru Security Accord.

Under the Accord, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), as well as Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana, would go to an African or Commonwealth country on special leave for an unspecified period, to allow the restoration of cordial relations between the two feuding security agencies.

Prime Minister and ABC leader, Thomas Thabane, fired Lt Gen Kamoli as LDF Commander on 29 August 2014 and replaced him with Lt Gen Mahao. However, Lt Gen Kamoli refused to accept the dismissal arguing it was illegal, resulting in a stalemate which threatened the country’s security. On the same day of the dismissal, Dr Thabane, BNP leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, Commissioner Tšooana and several other senior government officials and some members of the ABC, fled Lesotho and sought refuge in South Africa after being tipped-off of an impending coup, allegedly led by Lt Gen Kamoli. The following day, 30 August, some LDF members attacked three key Maseru police stations in what the army later said was a special operation to confiscate arms the LMPS intended to give to a group of ABC supporters for use during an LCD march scheduled for Maseru on 1 September 2014. The march, which was later cancelled, was meant to put pressure on Dr Thabane to end parliament’s prorogation.

This sequence of events led to the SADC Troika of Heads of State and Government meeting in Pretoria on 15 September 2014, which resulted in Mr Ramaphosa’s appointment “to assist in the restoration of stability in the Kingdom”.

According to Mr Mokhosi, the SA deputy president had shown commitment and dedication towards facilitating Lesotho’s return to stability, hence his progress in his mission.

“Mr Ramaphosa has made efforts to understand our issues before he could suggest and facilitate any resolutions,” Mr Mokhosi on Friday told the Sunday Express.

“For instance, it had been alleged that Lt Gen Kamoli was hiding in the mountains with all the country’s weapons, but through Mr Ramaphosa’s frequent visits and SADC Observer Mission, it became evident these were just falsehoods.”

According to Mr Mokhosi, the signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration and Maseru Security Accord were clear signs that Mr Ramaphosa was making remarkable progress in his efforts to bring normalcy to Lesotho.

“There is no doubt that he has executed his mandate by implementing decisions which emerged from Lesotho leaders and not imposing SADC’s decisions on the country. He has only facilitated our decisions as leaders, to be harmonised based on facts and not views skewed in favour of one party in this conflict we are in.

“His commitment to be frequenting Lesotho until after the elections is a clear indicator that he is committed to Lesotho’s return to stability,” said Mr Mokhosi.

According to Mr Mokhosi, Major General Motsomotso and LMPS Deputy Commissioner Masupha Masupha, who will be heading the LDF and LMPS while Lt Gen Kamoli, Lt Gen Mahao and Commissioner Tšooana are out of the country, are expected to restore the professional relationship that had previously existed between the police and army.

“Our expectation is that the LDF, LMPS and National Security Service would now be resuming their Security Committee Meetings which had been stopped due to the differences between the leadership of these agencies. The expectation is that the meetings would see the restoration of cordial working relationships between these agencies, in which they would be offering one another assistance where necessary. There is no reason for the deputies not to work together; actually, this is an opportunity for them to prove themselves,” Mr Mokhosi said.

The departure of the three men, within 14 to 21 days of the signing of the Maseru Security Accord, would allow political parties to freely contest the elections, Mr Mokhosi added.

“This is another gesture intended to ensure there is a free and fair election. And our understanding is they will only be returning home when a new government is in place. Such a new government would determine their future in accordance with the situation by that time after the elections. So really, this is intended to give space for political campaigns to be run smoothly by all the parties,” Mr Mokhosi said.

On the other hand, ABC Secretary General, Samonyane Ntsekele on Friday told the Sunday Express that it was “too early” to comment on Mr Ramaphosa’s facilitation.

Mr Ntsekele said: “It’s too early to comment because when an agreement like this has been signed, one hopes that it would be complied with. I’m saying this because the signing we have just witnessed does not change anything until there is implementation of the agreement. Nothing stops someone from disregarding what has just been signed, which is why I am saying it is still too early to comment.”

However, Mr Ntsekele said the ABC went to the negotiating table with Mr Ramaphosa with “a lot of expectations and hopes”, but not all of them had been fulfilled.

“As ABC, we had certain hopes that are different from the contents of this Maseru Security Accord our leader has just signed. However, we realised that when going to negotiations it always ends with a win-win situation for all stakeholders hence the compromises we had to agree to.

“It might appear as if the deal we signed is skewed in favour of our opponents but at the end, what’s important is the final target—and that is the best interests of the Basotho nation. Our target is the preservation of peace for Basotho, which I personally believe is the most important thing for us all,” said Mr Ntsekele, who is also Prime Minister Thabane’s Political Advisor.

The ABC, he further noted, had “compromised and paid a huge price” by agreeing to the re-assignment of Commissioner Tšooana and Lt Gen Mahao.

“And if this is the price we are supposed to pay for peace, then we should accept it for the sake of Lesotho and Basotho.

“We will see, as time goes, whether what was signed today will benefit us. And as we speak, there has not been any change to the security situation we have always complained about, so we have to wait for the implementation of what has been agreed upon.”
Maseru Security Accord


  • Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, Lt Gen Maaparankoe Mahao, Police Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana to go on leave of absence within 14 days, and undergo working visits, in their related fields, to specified SADC and Commonwealth countries.
  • During the period of leave of absence, they will not exercise any authority or undue influence over the Lesotho Defence Force or Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
  • During this period, the Deputy Commander will head the Lesotho Defence Force while the Assistant Commissioner will lead the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
  • Lt General Kamoli, Lt General Mahao and Commissioner Tšooana agreed to promote harmonious relations between the leadership, officers and members of both the Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Mounted Police Service; do everything in their power to actively prevent, discourage and ensure that no further confrontations or hostilities are  caused and occur between members and units of the Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Mounted Police Service;  ensure no further confrontations or hostilities between members of the security forces in Lesotho take place;  reaffirm their commitment to defend the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho;  confirmed that all security forces in the Kingdom of Lesotho are subject to the political leadership of the Kingdom and commit to accept such leadership in the execution of their duties and promote the need for all security forces to do likewise; recognise that the Facilitation Mission to Lesotho will continue to monitor the political and security situation in the country, and to monitor and assist in the maintenance of law and order and the relations between security forces;  respect the work of the SADC Politics, Defence and Security Observer Mission and to assist in its endeavours; cooperate with one another in the fulfilment of the pact.


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