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SADC sends high powered delegation to Lesotho

by Sunday Express
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chiwenga-mujuru-funeral-550(1)Billy Ntaote

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has sent a high-powered six-member delegation to Lesotho on a fact-finding mission.

The team comprises defence ministers and their army commanders from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe and their visit follows the African Union Summit held on 16 June in Sandton, South Africa. The Summit undertook to send a mission “to establish how our country is doing after the successful elections we held as a result of SADC’s facilitation”, Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister Tlohang Sekhamane told the Sunday Express last night.

Mr Sekhamane further said South African Defence and Military Veterans Minister Ms Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula and General Solly Zacharia Shoke, as well as Namibia’s  Defence Minister Penda ya Ndakolo and Lieutenant General John Mutwa had arrived in Maseru, while the Zimbabwean delegation was not yet in the country.

Mr Sekhamane said the visitors were also “likely” to discuss Thursday’s shooting of former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Maaparankoe Mahao by his colleagues as he left his Mokema farm just outside Maseru.

The army has said the soldiers were investigating suspected mutiny in the LDF when the fatal shooting took place at around 3pm. Brigadier Mahao was appointed army commander on 29 August 2014 by then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane but was removed from the post last month by the new government which came to power after the 28 February 2015 snap elections. The Pakalitha Mosisili-led administration argued the appointment had not followed due process, hence the removal.

However, Mr Sekhamane said the SADC team’s mission had been agreed upon early this month and was not due to Brigadier Mahao’s death.

“According to their itinerary, these dignitaries are expected to meet with His Majesty King Letsie III, Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili and his coalition government partners, Minister of Defence and National Security Tšeliso Mokhosi, LDF Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) Heads of Churches, and heads of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service and Lesotho Correctional Service, as well as leaders of the opposition,” said Mr Sekhamane.

Mr Sekhamane emphasised that the “core business” of the SADC mission was to see how Lesotho is doing post the 28 February 2015 elections, which brought in a new government led by Democratic Congress (DC) leader Dr Mosisili.

“Like I said, the mission would, among others, focus on the country’s governance issues and investigate whether the Coalition Government Agreement is being followed and implemented.

“The mission would also expect to find out the facts surrounding the death of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao since their visit has coincided with his passing.

“The troika is also going to be looking into the challenges and successes of the coalition government since it came into office.”

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