President Mugabe arrived here last night to attend today’s Sadc Double Troika Summit on Lesotho which will review the political and security situation in the Mountain Kingdom. He is travelling with Ministers Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Foreign Affairs), Kembo Mohadi (State Security), Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence) and Ignatius Chombo (Home Affairs). The Double Troika comprises the Troika of Summit (Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland) which steers Sadc affairs in between General Assemblies of Heads of State and Government, and the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania).
It convenes to thwart lingering regional security threats, and Lesotho figures on its agenda following political uncertainties emerging from the killing of the country’s former defence forces commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao. Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha told The Herald: “Lesotho committed to doing a number of things in line with the report of the Sadc Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao. “The Sadc Double Troika will, therefore, focus on developments in that country and review progress on those commitments.”
Brig Mahao was shot dead by his former subordinates on June 25, 2015 while allegedly resisting arrest on a charge of mutiny. There had been reports of an attempted military coup after then Prime Minister Dr Thomas Thabane fired LDF commander LieutenantGeneral Kennedy Tlali Kamoli and elevated Brig Mahao to the post in 2014. However, the army denied the reports, and Dr Thabane’s successor, Dr Pakalitha Mosisili, was to reinstate Kamoli after taking office in 2015. Dr Thabane, Basotho National Party leader Thesele Maseribane and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho’s Keketso Ranso fled the country as political violence surged. In July 2015, President Mugabe, then Sadc Chair, presided over a Double Troika Summit that assembled a 13member Commission of Inquiry to investigate Brig Mahao’s killing.
The Commission has recommended the following, among other points: The Government of Lesotho should ensure criminal investigations on the death of Brig Mahao are pursued vigorously. The finality of the investigations should lead to a transparent course of justice; In the interest of restoring trust and acceptance of the LDF to the Basotho nation, LieutenantGeneral Kamoli should be relieved of his duties as LDF Commander, and all LDF officers implicated in cases of murder, attempted murder and treason should be suspended while investigations on their cases proceed in line with international best practice; Deficiencies and overlaps in the Constitution of Lesotho with regards to mandates of security institutions need to be looked into urgently with a comprehensive strategy to reform them; and An amnesty covering detained mutiny suspects and ensuring the safe return of LDF members who fled Lesotho in fear for their lives should be facilitated.
Last week, Sadc Facilitator and South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa met PM Mosisili and other stakeholders in Lesotho to review progress. Mr Ramaphosa told journalists afterwards: “We will table that (progress) report (before the Double Troika) and I can say we have been very pleased with the fact that the government has come up with a response. “We are going to deal with it at the Sadc level and we will look at how government has taken steps to implement the recommendations.”