8. 9. 2014

Zuma to mediate on Lesotho's reopening of Parliament

President Jacob Zuma will travel to Lesotho on Tuesday to discuss restoring “peace and stability” in the country, the international relations department said.

“During the visit, the president is expected to consult with His Majesty King Letsie III and also hold discussions with the coalition leaders [of Lesotho] to assess the progress in the implementation of the Windhoek Declaration, as well as other SADC [Southern African Development Community] decisions,” spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement on Monday. 

“The visit by President Zuma demonstrates a clear commitment by SADC to assist the coalition leaders to implement the Windhoek Declaration, as well as to assist the kingdom to restore peace and stability.”  The declaration, between SADC and international co-operating partners, was intended to “ensure good governance, strengthened regional capacity, and durable peace and security in the region”, according to a SADC statement in 2006. Zuma’s visit follows his meeting with the coalition leaders in Pretoria on September 1, after an attempted coup in Lesotho. 

In a joint statement by the SADC Troika – which Zuma chairs – and the leaders at the time of the attempted coup, they said they had agreed on a “roadmap with clear timelines” for the reopening of Lesotho’s Parliament. 

According to a report on Monday by Agence France-Presse, Lesotho’s Prime Minister Tom Thabane said the actions of army general Tlali Kamoli, who had seized army weapons, made Parliament’s reopening impossible.  “The situation in the country is not stable. How do we reopen Parliament under these conditions?” he asked. “We have a renegade army general who has gone rogue with some weapons from the country’s armoury and refuses to submit to authority. This is not the time to re-open Parliament.” 

The general is accused of being involved in an attempted coup last month, which led to Thabane coming to South Africa. Lesotho’s communications minister Selibe Mochoboroane reportedly said the main issue that Zuma would address was Thabane’s refusal to reopen Parliament. 

According to reports, as part of the agreement, Zuma deployed South African police to protect Thabane and some of his key allies. Lesotho’s army commander Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao reportedly said on Sunday that military action was now the only option against Kamoli. Zuma will be accompanied on his trip by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. (Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg)

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