Statement by SADC Facilitator, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Signing of the Masuru Security Accord - Maseru 23 October 2014.
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Dr. Tom Thabane
Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister, Mothejoa Metsing
Lt. General Tladi Kamoli
Lt. General Maaparankoe Mahao
Commissioner Khotatso Tsooana
Members of the SADC Facilitation Mission to Lesotho
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
The SADC Troika of Heads of State and Government meeting held in Pretoria on 15 September 2014 mandated the SADC Facilitation Mission to assist the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho in addressing their current political and security challenges.
In pursuance of this mandate the SADC Facilitation Team consulted with and helped create a climate in which all political role-players signed the Maseru Facilitation Declaration on 2 October 2014 in Maseru.
As you would recall, the Maseru Facilitation Declaration committed all political parties to the reconvening of parliament by His Majesty King Letsie III on 17 October 2014; that the business of parliament would be limited to discussing the budget and all matters related to the holding of elections; and that elections will be held in February 2015 and on a date to be set by His Majesty King Letsie III.
Critical for the holding of these brought forward elections is the need to ensure the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho are able to exercise their democratic right to vote in a climate in a peaceful, stable and secure environment.
This requires that the security situation be stabilised as part of creating a climate conducive for the holding of the February 2015 elections in line with the SADC Guidelines for the holding of Free and Fair elections.
It is our firm view that the stabilisation of the security situation can only help produce an outcome that is a true expression of the will of the people of Lesotho. An outcome that will communicate a message to the people of the country, SADC, Africa and the world that the elections were indeed free, fair and credible.
It is the conviction of the Facilitation Team that the stabilisation of the political situation has created a climate conducive for the facilitation team to address the security challenges facing the country.
We recognise that the country continues to face security challenges that manifest themselves through tension, lack of trust and co-operation 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. This should be done with a view of ensuring all Basotho live in a secure, stable and democratic environment.
As with the political process, we have over a number of days and with a view to stabilising the security situation also been in discussions with three senior officers in the Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Mounted Police Service namely Lt. General Tlali Kamoli, Commissioner Khothatso Tsooana and Lt. General Maaparankoe Mahao, present with us here today.
These consultations took cognisance that:
- Section 146 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which entrusts the maintenance of internal security and the defence of Lesotho to the Defence Force, and making its Commander responsible for the Defence Force’s administration and discipline;
- Section 147 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which makes the Lesotho Mounted Police Force responsible for the maintenance of law and order in Lesotho and making its Commissioner responsible for the administration and discipline of the Service;
- The three senior officers have a role to play in ensuring security in the Lesotho with regard to defending its people and upholding the Constitution;
- Lesotho is a signatory to the SADC Treaty, in which all member-states commit to act in accordance with the principles of solidarity, peace and security, peaceful settlement of disputes and human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
- The relevant SADC Protocol which has entrusted the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to protect and safeguard the development of the region against instability arising from the breakdown of law and order and intra-state conflict and with managing and resolving inter-state conflict by peaceful means.
- Following these consultations, the Facilitation Mission can confidently declare that we have now reached yet another major milestone in the stabilisation of the security situation in Lesotho.
- In this regard, and inspired by a great sense of patriotism –putting the interests of the nation above their personal interests and to help move Lesotho and its people forward-the three senior officers have agreed to the following:
- To go on a leave of absence for specified periods, within 14 days hereof;
- To undergo working visits, in their related fields, to specified SADC and Commonwealth countries;
- During the period of leave of absence, they will not exercise any authority or undue influence over the Lesotho Defence Force or Lesotho Mounted Police Service;
- During this period, the Deputy Commander of the Lesotho Defence will head the Lesotho Defence Force while the Assistant Commissioner of Police will lead the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
- To give practical effect to this agreement the three senior officers, Lt. General Kamoli, Lt. General Mahao and Commissioner Tsooana have agreed to sign before you all the Maseru Security Accord. This Accord takes into account the need to:
- Promote harmonious relations between the leadership, officers and members of both the Lesotho Defence Force and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service;
- 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;
- Ensure no further confrontations or hostilities between members of the security forces in Lesotho to take place;
- Reaffirm their commitment to defend the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho;
- Confirm that all security forces in the Kingdom of Lesotho are subject to the political leadership of the Kingdom and commit to accept such leadership in the execution of their duties and promote the need for all security forces to do likewise;
- Recognise that the Facilitation Mission to Lesotho will 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;
- Respect the work of SADC Politics, Defence and Security Observer Mission and to assist in its endeavours;
- As well as to cooperate with one another in the fulfilment of the pact.
As the SADC Facilitation Mission, we join the government and the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho in welcoming the commitment made by these three senior officers.
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 normalcy and the stabilisation of the security situation as mandated by the SADC Heads of State and Government.
We are of the conviction that through the signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration and now the Maseru Security Accord, 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.
As SADC we stand ready to continue to assist Basotho as they embark on this road to democracy, peace, security and prosperity.
I thank you
ISSUED BY THE SADC OBSERVER MISSION TO LESOTHO