Tuesday, March 9, 2021

SADC reprimands Lesotho over Phumaphi commission

The South African Development Community (SADC) and Lesotho authorities are headed for a showdown ahead of the implementation of the recommendations made by a Commission led by former Botswana High Court Judge, Mpaphi Phumaphi.

Fresh information has emerged indicating that SADC issued a stern warning to the government of Lesotho when it discovered that one of the Army Special Forces Commanders, Lieutenant Colonel Tefo Hashatsi had brought an urgent application before the High Court for the Commission to be suspended. Hashatsi had filed an urgent application to suspend the proceedings of the SADC Commission investigating instability in the country and the death of former army commander, Maaparankoe Mahao.

In a letter addressed to Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Tlohang Sekhemane, SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax urged the government of Lesotho to ensure that the commission is protected from any threats in conducting its business.

“With concern, we have been informed that one Lieutenant Colonel Tefo Hashatsi of Lesotho Defence Force is suing the Right Honourable Prime Minister and the SADC Independent Commission inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao (hereinafter the commissioner) at the High Court,” said Lawrence Tax.

She added that Lieutenant Colonel Tefo Hashatsi reportedly “disputes the commission’s authority to intervene and craves that it be disbanded.” Dr. Lawrence Tax warned that the “honourable minister may wish to recall that on July 3, 2015, in Pretoria South Africa, the SADC Secretary Double Troika Summit established and adopted the Terms of Reference of the Commission.” Subsequently, at the meeting held from 17 -18 August 2015 in Gaborone, Botswana, at the SADC Summit reaffirmed the Commission’s Terms of Reference.

According to Dr. Lawrence Tax, paragraph 7(a) (1) of the Commission’s Terms of Reference provides that: “The Government of Lesotho shall in accordance with this Terms of Reference cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry and shall ensure unhindered access to all places, persons or sources of any information relevant to its investigations.”

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