Constitutional, security reforms for Lesotho


South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the SADC Observer Mission that he has led made recommendations for the Kingdom of Lesotho to consider affecting constitutional and security reforms.

He said this when responding to a Parliamentary question at the National Assembly on Wednesday, reports official South African government news agency SAnews.
“Many stakeholders with whom the Mission interacted during its tenure, such as the churches, traditional leaders, business and NGOs, consistently expressed the need for such reforms to be effected.
“The recommendations made by the facilitation team were informed by the experience of the SADC Mission on the ground and in fulfilment of the mandate of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and Cooperation to promote long term political and security stability,” he said.

The Deputy President’s statement comes after Lesotho’s Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili reaffirmed in his inauguration speech that his government was committed to pursuing such reforms.

Prime Minister Mosisili’s predecessor, Dr Tom Thabane, had also supported the proposal for the same reforms to be introduced.

The SADC Observer Mission also recommended:

Refining the respective roles of the Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Mounted Police Service to remove any overlap between the two forces’ mandates;

Reforms to Parliamentary rules as they affect coalition governments, motions of no confidence, the prorogation of Parliament and the issue of floor crossing;

Judicial, civil service and media reforms; and

Processes that could be followed in ensuring an inclusive process for the formulation and adoption of the reforms.

The Deputy President said the SADC Double Troika Summit had accepted the recommendations and also urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to implement them as soon as possible.
“This process is in the hands of the Basotho, and SADC will assist wherever possible,” he said.

Commission of Inquiry to probe Brigadier Mahao’s death

The Deputy President said the Summit also decided to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the death of former army Commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, as well as matters pertaining to the broader security environment.

He said that the Lesotho government and opposition parties have also proposed that the terms of reference be fine-tuned.

The Deputy President said the proposal would be considered by the SADC Double Troika Summit scheduled for 16 August.
“The Commission has started its work. It is headed by Botswana High Court Judge Mpaphi Phumaphi, and includes experts from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi and South Africa in fields such as law, criminal investigation and forensic science.
“An Oversight Committee was also established by the Extraordinary Summit held on 3 July 2015. It is meant to act as an early warning mechanism in the event of instability and intervene as appropriate in consultation with the SADC Facilitator.
“It will be led by a political appointee and include political, intelligence, police and military components. It will assist in ensuring SADC is able to respond timeously to any signs of political and security instability,” he said.