Jacob Zuma going to Lesotho to discuss ‘peace and stability’

2014-09-08 16:01

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President Jacob Zuma will travel to Lesotho tomorrow to discuss restoring “peace and stability” in the country.

“During the visit, the president is expected to consult with his majesty, King Letsie III, and also hold discussions with the coalition leaders [of Lesotho] to assess the progress in the implementation of the Windhoek Declaration, as well as other Southern African Development Community decisions,” international relations department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said today.

“The visit by President Zuma demonstrates a clear commitment by the Southern African Development Community to assist the coalition leaders to implement the Windhoek Declaration, as well as to assist the kingdom to restore peace and stability.”

The declaration, between SADC and international cooperating partners, was intended to ensure good governance, strengthened regional capacity, and durable peace and security in the region.

Zuma’s visit follows his meeting with the coalition leaders in Pretoria on September 1, after an attempted coup in Lesotho.

At the time of the attempted coup the SADC Troika – which Zuma chairs – and the leaders said they had agreed on a “road map with clear timelines” for the reopening of Lesotho’s Parliament.

According to a report today by the French news agency Agence France-Presse, Lesotho’s prime minister Tom Thabane said the actions of army general Tlali Kamoli, who had seized army weapons, made Parliament’s reopening impossible.

“The situation in the country is not stable. How do we reopen Parliament under these conditions?” he asked

“We have a renegade army general who has gone rogue with some weapons from the country’s armoury and refuses to submit to authority. This is not the time to reopen Parliament.”

The general is accused of being involved in an attempted coup last month, which led to Thabane coming to South Africa.

Lesotho’s communications minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, reportedly said the main issue that Zuma would address was Thabane’s refusal to reopen Parliament.

According to reports, as part of the agreement, Zuma deployed South African police to protect Thabane and some of his key allies.

Lesotho’s army commander, Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao, reportedly said on Sunday that military action was now the only option against Kamoli.

Zuma will be accompanied on his trip by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

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