SADC this week acted swiftly by approving Lesotho government’s request for the convening of a Double Troika meeting in Pretoria to help the country implement the SADC recommendations that will bring about everlasting peace in the troubled kingdom.
The regional economic bloc’s Double Troika plus 1 is scheduled for today (Friday) in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.
The Lesotho request was prompted by the assassination of the Commander of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Lieutenant General, Khoantle Motsomotso on 5 September 2017 by two former soldiers who were also shot and killed during the encounter.
The brutal killing of Motsomotso led to SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax leading a fact finding mission of the Tripartite - plus one (South Africa) delegation to Lesotho last week.
The delegation was composed of Angola as the Double Troika Chair, Zambia (incoming Chair) and South Africa who is the current regional economic bloc Chairman. The tripartite was accompanied by SADC security chiefs composed of both police and military personnel on September 7.
Immediately after the assassination of the Commander, Lesotho Government hatched a plan to facilitate the seating of Double Trioka in order for it to endorse the Lesotho request of the deployment of the SADC battalion in their country.
In an exclusive interview with BG News Lesego Makgothi, Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations revealed that currently everything seems to be quiet in Lesotho, “but all is not well in the paradise”.
Makgothi confirmed that his Government received the SADC delegation on September 7. He said at this fact finding mission, Lesotho stated its case before the delegation by depicting the events of 5 September the day that the LDF Commander was assassinated.
“As Lesotho government, we further requested SADC for military deployment in a size of a battalion to support LDF to execute its mandate diligently”. Makgothi said in that delegation the Kingdom of Swaziland, which is the immediate past SADC Chair, was also represented, whilst South Africa was represented by her High Commissioner, Sello Moloto as well as its security intelligence and military attaché.
After the fact finding mission, the SADC delegation visited the murder scene of the commander at the army barracks as well as paid courtesy calls on His Majesty King Letsie III, Prime Minister Tom Thabane, the coalition partners being the third coalition Government, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki who is the leader of opposition party, Alliance of Democrats (AD).
They also visited Minister of Public Service, Chief Thesele Maseribane of the Basotho National Party (BNP) as well as Keketso Rantso Minister of Labour and Employment and leader of Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).
“The SADC delegation also met with stakeholders such as College of Chiefs, Christian Council of Lesotho, opposition parties and civil society as well as addressed a press conference.”
Meanwhile Makgothi said that the late Commander was buried on September 14 (yesterday) in his home town Butha-Buthe where he was accorded a full military state funeral. He said that LDF hierarchy has issued a communication that they have decided not to extend same privileges to the Commander’s murderers - Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi - because they have dishonoured their commission. The two have also been under criminal investigation for the assassination of former LDF Commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao Meanwhile Makgothi revealed that two high ranking LDF soldiers are in detention in connection with the death of their Commander. They are Major Ramoephane and Captain Nyakane who both are suspected of having aided the bandits who laid a trap for LDF and assassinated Gen. Motsomotso. “The information that LDF has is that the number of suspects is much higher, but it appears others did not know the plan well,” said Makgothi.