The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Lesotho mission, while not overly large in number, needs more funding to do its work, according to the regional body.
Jorge Cardoso, director of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security affairs, told an SADC briefing at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa the estimated budget for the SADC Preventive Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho (SAPMIL) was $4 761 295 for the first six months.
“An amount of $3 174 997 is currently available from SADC internal resources. There is a shortfall of $1 613 920 the region urgently needs to mobilise for the mission to fulfil its mandate,” a statement issued after the briefing said adding the regional body requesting this from “the AU and co-operating partners”. The veracity of the SADC figures cannot be verified as the required budget minus the amount available works out to a shortfall of $1 586 298, not $1 613 920.
Apart from financial assistance, the SADC is also asking the continental body for technical support. This will assist SAPMIL “in bringing tangible results and achieving lasting peace and security in Lesotho”.
SAPMIL comprises 258 people from the military (207), police (24) and intelligence (15) sectors supported by 12 civilian experts. Seven SADC member states – Angola, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are contributing to the mission.
SAPMIL’s deployment to the landlocked southern African nation follows the breakdown of the rule of law in September 2017 after the assassination of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander, Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo.
Cardoso told the Addis Ababa briefing SAPMIL’s objective was “to stabilise the political and security situation in Lesotho and create a secure, stable and peaceful environment conducive for the rule of law necessary for the implementation of Constitutional, Parliamentary, judicial, public and security sector reforms”.
The deployment is in accordance with chapter six of the United Nations Charter, the AU Peace and Security Protocol and relevant provisions in the SADC Treaty; SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation; as well as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the SADC Standby Brigade of 2007.
SAPMIL moved into Lesotho at the beginning of December after initial indications of a battalion strength force being deployed did not materialise.