THE SADC Commission of Inquiry is expected to move from Maseru to Bloemfontein on Thursday this week and start interviewing Basotho living in exile in South Africa.
Commission chairperson, Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi, made the announcement on Thursday last week, but did not say how many people are to testify or how long the probe team would take in South Africa.
The commission was established by government, and endorsed by the regional bloc, to probe how former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Maaparankoe Mahao was killed by his colleagues just outside Maseru three months ago.
Justice Phumaphi said: “We hope come Thursday next week, we will move to Bloemfontein to hear the testimonies of people on that side.”
Although the Botswana judge would not reveal more, the Sunday Express is reliably informed at least 16 people are going to testify.
The commission’s spokesperson, Phumlani Dlamini, would not comment when contacted yesterday by the Sunday Express “because the arrangement is not yet confirmed”.
Mr Dlamini added: “We are working on the logistics at the moment. Probably by Tuesday, we would have organised everything. That is when I will be in a good position to inform you about all the details.”
All Basotho Convention leader and former prime minister, Thomas Thabane, Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader Keketso Rantšo, their parties’ supporters, and members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) have sought refuge in South Africa claiming their lives were in danger.
Earlier this month, the opposition leaders said they had requested the commission to sit in South Africa for them and their fellow exiles to testify before it.
The leaders insisted it was very important that the commission heard their points of view regarding Lesotho’s prevailing security and political crisis. They further said it was not possible for them to come to Lesotho, even for a few hours, to appear before the commission as they still feared for their lives.
BNP leader Chief ‘Maseribane, who spoke on behalf of the exiles said then: “It is the nation’s expectation that we appear before the commission because events that led to the death of former LDF commander Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao started while we were partners in the previous coalition government led by Dr Thabane.
“We are ready to give all the information we have to assist the commission with investigations but our lives come first.”