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The resolution Sadc will likely make on Lesotho

by Sunday Express
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sofonea shaleSINCE the acceptable 2012 General Elections in Lesotho and the peaceful, unmediated transfer of power from one civilian leader to another, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is likely to discuss Lesotho’s political situation in its next summit.

Depending on the resolutions SADC makes, the act of a regional body taking a decision about a particular state sends a signal on the potency or otherwise of a sovereign entity.
It is in this light that questions are being asked on what SADC will say about Lesotho when the regional bloc meets in Victoria Falls and what implications it might have on the sovereignty of the Kingdom.
Though political forecasting is a distinct branch of political science and therefore a preserve for experts, it does no harm to opine on what is the likely to happen concerning Lesotho at the coming SADC Summit.
On the question of why SADC would want to deliberate on Lesotho, it is already concerned with Lesotho whether by invitation or by intuition.

The chair of the SADC Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation has not only been to Lesotho but sent a delegation and has also been visited by the leaders of the coalition government.
Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has not only averted the divorce between Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) on the one hand and All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) on the other.

Mr Pohamba also brokered an important deal to open parliament sooner than the stated period of prorogation as well as the public denouncement of the LCD-DC agreement.
The implementation of this agreement has proven difficult not because leaders do not want it or because it was a coerced move, but simply because leaders have lost the necessary command of respect within their organisations.

When listening to the plethora of views from supporters of political parties in the coalition government, most do not find the deal acceptable.
The question then is will SADC overlook this fact? After all, Lesotho is the next chair of the organ after Namibia whose terms expires at the summit.
The late appearance of President Jacob Zuma on the political scene is an important development which should not be taken for granted.
Mr Zuma’s willingness and readiness to help is an offer that may not be ignored. It is on this basis that I surmise that the country will feature at the summit.
Assuming Lesotho does feature on the summit agenda, the question likely to be asked is if the country is ready to lead.

Some countries may feel Lesotho is not ready given the political dynamics in the Kingdom and it could be seen as empowering Prime Minister Thomas Thabane over his coalition partners, something which might aggravate the situation in Lesotho.

In particular, South Africa may back up this point not on any material or substantial point but simply because it would like to be appointed a facilitator for Lesotho and would feel less confortable to facilitate a chair of the Troika.

The leadership of Troika is for all intends and purposes a very influential position in SADC, so having to facilitate a member state holding such an important position may, in the technical and perhaps ultimately political sense, be a challenge.

The most critical question will then be whether SADC can really deny Lesotho this routine responsibility. In the practically sense, Lesotho has already been initiated into the leadership of this organ and the handover at the Summit would be ceremonial.
However, power remains with the Summit. So what will happen about the SADC position on the Lesotho’s political situation?

It is highly likely that the SADC Heads of State and Government will acknowledge the role played by Mr Pohamba in deescalating the political conflict in Lesotho.
But it would want to remain seized with matters in Lesotho hence it is likely to name a facilitator for Lesotho. Remember, this is just mere speculation.

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