President Ian Khama to his credit last month brokered a deal that gave Lesotho a breather after the SADC Double Troika Summit in Gaborone resolved to suspend the tiny mountainous kingdom from the bloc.
This was after Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had reservations about the Justice Phumaphi Commission of Inquiry report into the June 25, 2015 assassination of former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) military commander, Maaparankoe Mahao. Mahao’s assassination had forced SADC to set up a Commission of Inquiry of experts, military, police and forensic experts headed by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi of Botswana to conduct investigations. The Commission investigated circumstances that led to Mahao’s cold blood murder.
It also looked at the legality or otherwise of Mahao’s appointment as the commander of the LDF and his dismissal. It also looked at the legality of the current commander Lieutenant General Kenneth Kamuli’s reappointment on May 24, 2015 and his earlier dismissal by former Prime Minister Tom Thabani. The commission investigated whether in fact there was mutiny or not against Kamuli. It is believed that army members sympathetic to Kamuli assassinated Mahao execution style. On that fateful day the deceased was driving from his farm which is 30 kilometres from Maseru, when he was ambushed by not less than 11 heavily armed soldiers armed with AK47s and shot execution style while his nephews were with him in his vehicle. These are the circumstances that led to the appointment of the Phumaphi Commission for the turmoil in Lesotho.
This tiny country heavily reliant economically on South Africa is very strange. It is believed that the army is running the show in this country that is always characterised by terror. Political instability is very common in a country with a population of two million people and which is home to over 20 political parties.
There is a problem when a small country like Lesotho, is home to more than 20 political parties. When there were few political parties in Lesotho there was stability. Now the rule of law does not apply especially when dealing with army generals and their political stooges. We understand that LDC, which refused to cooperate with investigations, frustrated the Commission. Kamuli’s led LDC refused to provide the names of soldiers who killed Mahao. the bottom-line is, Mosisili is not in charge but the army commander.dations.
“Everyone felt that a lot of time and money had been spent on the Lesotho issue, from financing of elections, security missions and even the Commission of Enquiry. It was a unanimous decision.”
– Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi