Metsing set to return

Metsing set to return

MASERU – Self-exiled Lesotho opposition leader Mothetjoa Metsing is set to return home following a deal brokered by SADC facilitator Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The deal was sealed after Justice Moseneke met government and the opposition separately yesterday.
Justice Moseneke met the coalition government leaders in the morning and the opposition in the afternoon.
The facilitator was racing against time to get all the opposition leaders to attend the National Leader’s Forum which begins in Maseru today.
The agreement paves the way for Metsing to come back to participate in the reforms.

He fled into exile 13 months ago after alleging that he had information that the police wanted to torture him. He has since been refusing to come back home until the government guaranteed his safety.

The opposition too has been refusing to take part in the reforms until Metsing is allowed back home.
Former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili told a press conference last night that the deal came after “long consultations with the government and the SADC facilitation”.
He said the government finally bowed down to their demands.

It is was not clear last night if Metsing will attend the National Leaders Forum.
Mosisili said the government has agreed to provide Mothetjoa Metsing with security upon his arrival in Lesotho.
The government, he said, has promised to continue assessing Metsing’s security situation.

He said in the event that there is no threat to his security and in consultation with the SADC Facilitator to Lesotho the government would withdraw such security.
Mosisili said this means that the security assessment will be done by the government with SADC’s assistance.
As part of the agreement the government would withdraw its extradition application against Metsing.
“Alternatively, the government would withdraw the extradition application in question upon receiving a written commitment from Metsing that he would return to Lesotho on a date that he would specify in such an undertaking,” Mosisili said.

Asked what would happen if Metsing could be nabbed by the police once he sets his foot in Lesotho, Mosisili said, “Justice Dikgang Moseneke said we should inform him.”
“He said he would be the one to release him from the police”.

Mosisili said the immediate focus was on Metsing but they continue to negotiate for the return of other people who are in exile.
They include several senior police officers, top soldiers and individuals.

Tseliso Mokhosi, Metsing’s deputy in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, also remains in exile.
The deal to bring Metsing back home comes a few days after the SADC Summit in Namibia expressed concerns over Lesotho’s delays in implementing the reforms.
The Summit bemoaned the lack of progress and said members states will take measures against those two threaten to derail the reforms.

Staff Reporter

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