Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Sadc needs to act before it’s too late

LESOTHO takes centre-stage once again this week, as Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders meet in Pretoria to discuss the country’s political and security crisis.
Previously the envy of the region due to its stability, Lesotho has increasingly become the proverbial black sheep within the Sadc family following persistent bickering by the three leaders of the country’s ruling parties.
What appeared petty-mindedness by one of the leaders — Mothetjoa Metsing of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) — when he publicly accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of not consulting his fellow principals when making key decisions concerning the government, has since developed into one of the country’s worst crises.
The fact that the premier has not responded exactly as expected by the LCD and mediators in the dispute such as President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, means Dr Thabane is increasingly alienating himself from Pretoria, if not the entire Sadc.
Mr Zuma, who has been to Lesotho twice over the past two months in an effort to help resolve the crisis, is understandably frustrated at the failure by Mr Metsing, Dr Thabane and their third coalition government partner, Basotho National Party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, to end their bickering.
After missing the 14 August 2014 self-imposed deadline to have resolved their differences, the three parties had yet another chance to salvage their relationship following an invitation to Pretoria exactly two weeks ago, where Sadc leaders brokered a deal that many thought would finally end the impasse. According to the agreement, the three parties were supposed to hold a joint meeting of their executive committees on 3 September, meet with King Letsie on 5 September to advise him on lifting the prorogation of Parliament suspended for nine months by Thabane on 10 June 2014 to avoid a no-confidence vote in his leadership and ensure the re-opening of the August House on 19 September 2014.
After failing to agree on the date of Parliament’s re-opening, Mr Zuma was in Maseru again on Tuesday last week, and urged the feuding parties to have resolved the issue within 48 hours.
Mr Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was supposed to come to Lesotho on Friday to witness the announcement of the date of the re-opening of Parliament, never showed up after it became clear the coalition leaders would never agree on the matter.
While Dr Thabane and Chief ‘Maseribane are singing the same tune — that Parliament cannot be opened with Lieutenant Tlali Kamoli refusing to step down as Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander as required by the premier — Mr Metsing has declared the dismissal of the army chief illegal, compounding an already complex situation. And Sadc, true to form, has taken a lackadaisical approach to the Lesotho situation and chosen to believe the LCD’s version of events, which however, could not be further from the truth.
The fact that members of the LDF invaded three key police stations in Maseru on the morning of 30 August 2014 resulting in the death of one officer and injury to many others, is not calamitous enough for the regional bloc to realise that indeed, there is a security crisis in Lesotho.
Again, the fact that the LDF now has two commanders is not enough of a crisis for Sadc to realise that all is not well in Lesotho. Hopefully, the Sadc leadership will finally open their eyes this week and give the Lesotho political and security situation the serious attention it deserves, before it is too late.

Comments are closed.