Lesotho Elections – SADC Committed to Regional Peace (allAfrica.com)

Despite tensions among political parties in Lesotho, South Africa, along with the South African Development Community (SADC), has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring peaceful elections in the mountain kingdom.
Lesotho is set to hold elections, brokered by SADC, on 28 February.
South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday updated the media on South Africa’s position on a number of international developments, including the upcoming elections in Lesotho and Nigeria.
The Minister also used the opportunity talk about the outcomes of the recent African Union Summit, South Africa’s relief efforts in flood struck Mozambique and Malawi as well as South Africa’s role as the chair of the G77 + China.
With electioneering underway in neighbouring Lesotho, tensions remain high, especially after King Letsie III appointed Kananelo Mosito as President of the Court of Appeal.
Despite opposition from several political parties, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane went ahead with Mosito’s swearing-in ceremony in late January, an event boycotted by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who is Thabane’s political foe.
Opponents say the appointment was a violation of the electoral agreement mediated by SADC appointed mediator and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The agreement obliges political parties to defer senior appointments until after the poll.
Last weekend, a security guard of Thabane was killed and two soldiers were wounded in a shooting that further worsened the security situation.
Thabane’s government is on a caretaker basis following the dissolution of parliament in December last year.
Lesotho has been in political turmoil since June last year when Thabane suspended Parliament to avoid a vote of no confidence that was being pushed by his coalition government partners.
In late August last year, a coup to oust Thabane was thwarted.
Minister Nkoane Mashebane said the security concerns have been raised by all parties in Lesotho and they will be given attention.
She reiterated the view that preparations for holding a free and fair election in Lesotho remain on course and continue unabated.
SADC has already deployed its Electoral Advisory Council (EAC), which is expected to add impetus to current preparations and efforts by the Lesotho Electoral Commission (LEC) to deliver credible, free and fair elections in which the people of Lesotho
President Zuma, as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, is also currently chairing a meeting with leaders from Lesotho in Pretoria.
According to Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, this is a regular meeting attended by Prime Minister Thabane and leaders from opposition parties.
The leaders update President Zuma on plans for election preparedness and security, among other issues.
Turning to Nigeria, which has been rocked by terrorist attacks in recent months, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the AU will continue to stand with Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram or any terrorism in the continent.
On Saturday, Nigeria announced that it is postponing the general elections, which were scheduled for 14 February to 28 March, citing security reasons.
In their recent summit, AU members urged the United Nations Security Council to endorse the deployment of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for an initial 12 months.
The Assembly also authorised the establishment of a Trust Fund by the United Nations Secretary-General to sustain the operations of the MNJTF and the international community was called upon to provide support to the task force.
Meanwhile, the Minister said South Africa is ready to host the AU’s midyear summit.
The summit was scheduled to be hosted by Chad but it withdrew due to financial difficulties, largely attributed to falling oil prices.
Flood relief
With regards to emergency relief to flood hit Malawi and Mozambique, the Minister announced that the South African teams, led by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), have concluded their missions.
The South African government had sent a team from the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to Malawi last month in response to floods and the resultant humanitarian situation in that country.
A joint command was established between the South African team from the National Disaster Management Centre and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to coordinate air transport requests from the Malawi, UN relief agencies and international organisations for the relief and rescue operations in the southern region of Malawi that was severely hit by floods.
On the emergency situation in Mozambique, which was similarly caused by floods, the Mozambican government had sent a request to the South African government to assist with relief efforts.
SANDF, in conjunction with the Mozambican Defence Force (FADAM) and the National Disaster Management Institute of Mozambique (INGC), took leadership of flood relief efforts.
Two Oryx medium transport helicopters, SA Navy divers, medical staff from the SA Military Health Service and the South African Air Force with troops were deployed to Zambezia province.
Source: Politics