Maseru security accord an ‘important chapter and milestone’

The Maseru Security Accord, a new deal aimed at promoting security in Lesotho, was another step on the country’s journey to stabilisation.

“We are confident that the signing of the Maseru Security Accord adds yet another important chapter and milestone in the irreversible march towards the return of Lesotho to constitutional normality and the stabilisation of the security situation,” South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who facilitated the peace talks, said yesterday.

“We are of the conviction that through the signing ... the people of Lesotho have once more demonstrated their genuine commitment and desire to ensure their country takes its rightful place among nations of the world as a reliable and equal partner in development and maintenance of global peace and security.”

He said the Southern African Development Community stood ready to continue to assist the Basotho as they embarked on this road to “democracy, peace, security and prosperity”.

Ramaphosa was addressing a press conference in Maseru that was attended by Prime Minister Tom Thabane.

The security accord, signed by Lieutenant-General Tladi Kamoli, Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao and Commissioner Khotatso Tsooana, was aimed at promoting harmonious relations between the leadership, officers and members of both the Lesotho Defence Force and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.

Signatories pledged “to do everything in their power to actively prevent, discourage and ensure that no further confrontations or hostilities are caused and occur between members and units of the Lesotho Defence Force and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service”, he said.

They would also “ensure no further confrontations or hostilities between members of the security forces in Lesotho take place and reaffirm their commitment to defend the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho”.

The security accord would also confirm that all security forces in the country were subjected to the political leadership of the kingdom and committed to accepting the leadership in the execution of their duties.

The accord would also recognise that the facilitation mission to Lesotho would continue to monitor the political and security situation in the country, and to monitor and assist in the maintenance of law and order and the relations between security forces, he said.

Ramaphosa said the accord would ensure that the work of SADC’s politics, defence and security observer mission was respected and that all parties would “cooperate with one another in the fulfilment of the pact”.

Ramaphosa said that SADC recognised that Lesotho would continue to face security challenges that were manifested through tension, lack of trust and cooperation between the Lesotho Defence Force and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.

“This requires that we assist the country in developing long-term security sector reform to address the security challenges facing the country,” he said.

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