Ramaphosa: The voice in his report

Ramaphosa: The voice in his report

The opposition

* Until Lt. Gen. Kamoli is removed from the command of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) they would not feel safe to return to Lesotho. This, they say, they have always made clear to the Government of Lesotho. Military personnel involved in criminal activity ought also to be suspended and investigated.
* They continue to feel that they would not be safe if they returned, and that any guarantees for their safety on the part of the Prime Minister are of no import if Lt. Gen. Kamoli remains at the helm of the LDF.
* The Government of Lesotho has made no proposals regarding the safe return, specifically, of all exiles.
* The security situation in the Kingdom is deteriorating.
* The police has in fact been “contaminated”, rendering even the promise by the Prime Minister of security being provided by them to the leaders of the opposition inadequate.
* Their concern extends to the LDF as an institution, whose culture and command serve to perpetuate security concerns in the Kingdom. The events of 30 August 2014 are at the centre of the current situation in Lesotho; the result of decades of failure to properly reform the LDF.
* Their safe return is entirely in the hands of SADC.
* There has in essence been no movement in the implementation cyrilllllof the Recommendations of the Phumaphi Commission of Inquiry Report, nor has there been any movement on the part of the Lesotho Government to implement decisions of SADC Summits generally. SADC’s presence on the ground in Lesotho is needed, as is more decisive action on its part.
* They have no faith in the Government’s stated commitment to pursue the criminal investigation of the killing of Brigadier Mahao – the special unit established by the current Government (is composed of 25 members of the police and 25 members of the LDF) not only allows the LDF to investigate itself but violates the separation of roles between the army (meant to protect the sovereignty of Lesotho) and the police (responsible for law and order). The SADC is called upon to “ensure that a process that meets international best practice is put in place” to pursue this criminal investigation.
* The steps taken in relation to effecting Constitutional and Security Sector Reforms exclude important stakeholders. SADC’s participation in these exclusive processes is in violation of its own decisions with respect to the Reforms process
* SADC ought to expedite the release of the soldiers accused of mutiny, for whom the Phumaphi Commission of Inquiry Report recommended amnesty, and their reintegration in the LDF. Any amnesty issue ought to possibly be dealt with through a process that requires persons to apply for amnesty, and have their application carefully considered and scrutinized, before it is granted (“a TRC process”), and ought to apply to issues that arose prior to the killing of Brigadier Mahao.
* Clear pronouncements from the Government of Lesotho on the investigation into the death of Brig. Mahao, the suspension of soldiers suspected of serious crimes and the removal of Lt. Gen. Kamoli, made within a time frame of 2 weeks;
* Removal of Lt. Gen. Kamoli and installation of ‘neutral’ persons at the head of the army, including SADC personnel – this step should take 2 to 4 weeks;
* The earlier steps will allow return of exiles and reintegration of exiled soldiers as well as reorganisation of the LDF – the political parties and LDF will tone down their adversarial and aggressive tone, giving impetus to the reform process;
* The reforms process may then begin in earnest, in an inclusive manner. The Executive will take the form of a transitional administration focused solely on facilitating the reforms process and preparing for fresh elections, which would be called immediately after completion of the reform process – this should take between 18 and 24 months.
* Members of the opposition parties expressed consternation that the removal of the Commander of the LDF was the subject of negotiation rather than decision. The failure to implement this recommendation forthwith was cause for concern and a sign, in their view, of the influence the army had on Government decisions.
* Members of the opposition parties expressed consternation that the removal of the Commander of the LDF was the subject of negotiation rather than decision. The failure to implement this recommendation forthwith was cause for concern and a sign, in their view, of the influence the army had on Government decisions.

Mahao’s family

* Brigadier Mahao’s widow is subject to such severe harassment that she has had to leave her home, and requests for assistance from authorities have been met with silence.
* Expressed their disappointment that the Oversight Committee is yet to be deployed.
* Material evidence in the investigation into Brig. Mahao’s death is being withheld (or ignored).
* They continue to encounter difficulties in relation to the pension and other benefits due to the heirs and dependents of the late Brigadier.
* They are enjoined to pursue legal recourse, as their attempts at engagement with the relevant authorities have come to naught.
* The Mahao family shared its frustration with the lack of information being shared with it, by both authorities in Lesotho and the SADC Secretariat, including failures to so much as acknowledge receipt of their correspondence, despite them having a direct interest in the outcomes of the Phumaphi Commission of Inquiry and the implementation of its Recommendations.
* Expressed concern at the possibility of a general amnesty, which they felt could not be decided upon without consulting the victims of the crimes for which thus amnesty was being considered. They specifically are concerned that those responsible for the death of Brig. Mahao could go free, as would other members of the LDF guilty of criminal acts.

Government
* Stated that it had done everything in its power to facilitate their return and that SADC was best placed to decide the way forward.
* Committed to providing us with a copy of their roadmap to Constitutional Reforms once it had been approved by Cabinet and sending it to us by Monday, 22 August 2016. At the time of writing this report we were yet to receive it.
* Said there had been little progress in the investigation, and for this reason it had set up a special unit, comprised of 25 members form the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) and 25 members of the LDF, who would be tasked with pursuing this investigation and increasing the police’s capacity in this regard.
* The Prime Minister said government was continuing its discussions with him, on the modalities of his exit from the command of the LDF.
* These discussions had included meetings with the Generals of the LDF, and asking the Lt. Gen. to submit his proposals on the conditions of his exit from the LDF’s command. The Prime Minister indicated he would have more definitive news in this regard at this Summit.
* Believe a general amnesty would be the best option. It has tasked its Attorney General to formulate legislation that may address this question. This is a complex question in their view as any amnesty would have to apply to the killers of Brig. Mahao as well as the soldier accused of mutiny, a serious charge.

Stakeholders

* The Council of NGOs, College of Chiefs and Christian Council of Lesotho said the return of the leaders of the opposition was unlikely in the current security climate. The Christian Council expressly stated that if they did not return it would only serve to worsen the situation in Lesotho.
* The Council of NGOs of Lesotho and College of Chiefs felt that the recently held Security Sector Reform Workshop was not inclusive, and that progress on reforms was taking too long. Government informed us the workshop was only meant as a means of sensitising people to the issues and other would follow.
* The Council of NGOs expressed their concern at the negative impact the current situation in Lesotho was having on its economy.
*  All stakeholders were adamant that the security situation in the Kingdom required the continued involvement of SADC, and expressed appreciation for SADC’s assistance in securing political and security stability in Lesotho, though civil society.
* All the other stakeholders we met, beginning significantly with the family of the late Brig. Mahao, expressed misgivings that the LMPS could effectively investigate the commission of crimes by members of the LDF.
* When we informed them of the formation of the special unit as shared with us by the Prime Minister earlier in the day, their concerns grew – as expressed to us, the special unit would in essence allow members of the army to investigate themselves, or their own. The general sentiment was that there was no genuine commitment to conduct this investigation at all on the part of Government.

Ramaphosa’s conclusion

* The work on Constitutional and Security Sector Reforms is not yet comprehensively inclusive, as was mandated by the SADC at its last Summit. The recently held Security Sector Reform Workshop was attended in the main by government officials.  Broader civil society was not represented at this workshop. A failure to secure the full participation, at each stage, of all relevant stakeholders, and of the Basotho as a whole, will defeat the inherent purpose of the Reforms process.
* Implementation of the Recommendations of the Phumaphi Commission Report remains limited and requires further impetus. The majority of stakeholders with whom we met during our most recent working visit expressed their lack of confidence in the Government’s determination to implement these.
* Without the capacity to have a SADC presence as envisage in earlier decisions of summits of the Double Troika inside the Kingdom, it will be impossible for SADC to fulfil its mandate in Lesotho.
* Support from SADC will continue to be required for security and political stability in Lesotho.

Ramaphosa’s recommendations

* The Summit should note the Government’s position on the return of the leaders of the three main opposition parties and implementation of the Recommendations of the Phumaphi Report, and its roadmap on Constitutional and Security Sector Reforms.

* The SADC should reiterate the need for any reform process to be comprehensively inclusive of all stakeholders in the Kingdom of Lesotho.,

* The SADC should urgently implement its decision to deploy the Oversight Committee to serve as an early warning mechanism and lend assistance to the implementation of the Constitutional and Security Sector Reforms where necessary, and consider the need for its tenure to be longer than the originally agreed 45 days.

* The Summit should note the inputs provided by the leaders of the three main opposition parties, and the Mahao family.

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