SADC Suspends Activities In Lesotho

Gaborone – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has decided to suspend its activities in Lesotho after a meeting in Botswana failed to reach an agreement regarding the inquiry into the death of Lesotho’s former army commander, Maaparankoe Mahao.

According to ENCA, South African President Jacob Zuma, revealed that the activities in Lesotho were suspended because the meeting did not reach a consensus on the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Mahao.

Mahao, who was aligned to former Lesotho prime minister Tom Thabane, was shot and killed in June last year, reportedly by a group of soldiers.

His murder took place soon after Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili removed him as commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

The report was submitted by the commission to the SADC in December 2015.

The Mosisili government, however, refused to receive the report claiming that the LDF was challenging the commission in a Lesotho court.

But according to an SABC report, Zuma said the SADC would release the report – even if Lesotho did not agree.

SADC also agreed to meet with Mosisili again in August, saying if the country refused to accept the terms of the report, Lesotho would be suspended from the regional bloc.

Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi from Botswana was appointed to head the commission into the death of Mahao and various other soldiers, AllAfrica reported.

Outgoing African Union chairperson and Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, was absent at the proceedings. He was represented by his foreign affairs minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi,NewsDay reported.

When asked why Mugabe did not attend the meeting, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services ministry principal director, Regis Chikowore, said Mugabe was not aware that he had to be present at the meeting of the head of states.