Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SADC calls for early Lesotho elections

Southern African leaders have resolved that Lesotho should hold elections to end the political stalemate in that country.

This was one of the resolutions announced by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders, among them South Africa and Zimbabwe presidents, Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe respectively, following a marathon one day special regional summit in the South African capital, Pretoria.

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will oversee the implementation of the resolution.
Pretoria announced that Lesotho's coalition government was not "fully functional" and its term must be shortened.

The country is only due to have an election in 2017, but following an attempted coup in August and the failure of the Prime Minister Tom Thabane to re-open parliament this coming Friday, opposition leaders demanded action from SADC after Thabane backtracked on the promise.
Parliament was suspended in June.

The Prime Minister said the country was not ready to have parliament reopened and that some senior officials, including the Speaker, were in hiding fearing for their lives.

The SADC leaders resolved that Lesotho should now focus on "free, fair and incident free democratic elections for a fresh mandate".

South Africa's International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said SADC would send an observation mission, led by South Africa and including Zimbabwe, to Lesotho for three months to ensure peace and stability.

Nkoana-Mashabanealso said SADC would not be sending any soldiers to the Mountain Kingdom, as Lesotho is also known.

During late August, the Lesotho Defence Force took over the radio and TV stations, resulting in a total black out in broadcast and the army also took over several police stations including the police headquarters.

Thabang and several high-ranking officials fled to South Africa and were later escorted under heavy policy presence back to the capital, Maseru.

The man at the centre of the turmoil is the Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli who has reportedly taken control of the country's elite Special Forces Unit and the military's intelligence division.
Kamoli has refused a prime ministerial order to resign and has apparently raided government armouries in preparation for a showdown.

Meanwhile, the Lesotho police announced that they have launched a criminal investigation into the August 30 events, according to Maseru Police District Commissioner Mofokeng Kolo.

Source: Theafricareport.com

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