Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SADC Ultimatum for Lesotho
January 20, 2016
Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter

THE Sadc Double Troika Extraordinary Summit held in Gaborone, Botswana, on Monday gave the Kingdom of Lesotho an ultimatum to publish a report of the Commission of Inquiry that investigated the death of former Lesotho army commander Maaparankoe Mahao in June last year.

The Double Troika consists of the leadership of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania) and the Sadc Summit Troika (Botswana, Swaziland and Zimbabwe).

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi represented Zimbabwe at the summit, but his phone was not reachable yesterday.

According to the communiqué, summit instructed Lesotho to publish the report by February 1 after the summit handed it over to the government of Lesotho on Monday.

Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had refused to receive the report, arguing that they did not want it to be released until a case challenging the Commission of Inquiry was decided by the courts.

But summit stood its ground telling the Lesotho government to publish the report regardless of the court process.

“The Double Troika Summit received and endorsed the Report of the Commission of Inquiry, and urged the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to implement its recommendations,” read the communiqué.

“The Double Troika Summit handed over the Report of the Commission of Inquiry to the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho. The Double Troika Summit tasked the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to provide feedback to the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, and to publish the report within 14 days (by 1 February 2016).

“The Double Troika Summit received a Mission Report from the Sadc facilitator and reiterated that Sadc enjoys immunity as per the Sadc Treaty and the Sadc Protocol on Immunities and Privileges, and urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to abide by the immunity provisions.

“Any court decision taken against the Commission of Inquiry is of no legal effect, and will not bind Sadc and its institutions.”

The summit went on to say it was concerned with the Kingdom of Lesotho’s reluctance to undertake constitutional, public sector and security sector reforms.

The meeting also urged Lesotho to prepare, with the support of the Sadc Troika and the secretariat, a roadmap for the implementation of the reforms as contained in the Sadc facilitator’s final report.

Media reports yesterday indicated that the Lesotho government backed down after the Double Troika Summit threatened it would recommend the country’s suspension from Sadc.

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