Tom Thabane to face SADC commission on Lesotho

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A file photo showing Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

THABA NCHU, Free State - Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa will attend a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Mozambique on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa will attend the special session on Lesotho in his capacity as the SADC facilitator in the troubled mountain kingdom.

In a statement, Ramaphosa’s office said, “The consultative meeting is part of ongoing SADC efforts to consolidate peace and stability in the Kingdom of Lesotho.”

The meeting - called by the chairperson of the region’s politics, defence and security troika, Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi - will be attended by Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili.

It comes as former prime minister and All Basotho Convention (ABC) party leader, Tom Thabane, is set to face the SADC commission on Tuesday.

It was set up following months of turmoil in the country in order to identify the reasons behind the political and security instability in Lesotho.

It will also look into the death of former army chief Maaparankoe Mahao - killed in June in front of his young relatives in what the army called an arrest operation, but labeled a cold blooded killing by opposition leaders and civil society.

Thabane, the Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele Maseribane, and the leader of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL), Keketso Rantso, have remained in exile in South Africa for months fearing for their lives, claiming an assassination plot.

This has plunged the already troubled country into further turmoil, with an alleged reign of terror from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) targeting people loyal to Mahao and the previous government.

The Lesotho army claim to have arrested soldiers who were planning “a mutiny.”  But these arrests have been termed kidnappings by the opposition, lawyers and civil society, who say the detained soldiers are being tortured by the Lesotho army.

Now, for fear of being targeted in Lesotho, exiled soldiers, civilians and opposition leaders are testifying in South Africa, with their testimonies being delivered in the Free State in Thaba Nchu.

The RCL&39;s Rantso, testified on Monday, detailing her “near attack” at her home that forced her to flee in the middle of the night with no passport, dressed in her night gown.

She told the commission that the army was behind the security instability in Lesotho – adding that current army chief Tlali Kamoli must step down in order for peace to be restored in the country.

Exiled soldiers have also testified, in camera, at the commission.

On Tuesday, Thabane is expected to detail his version of the events of 30 August 2014, when the army allegedly staged an attempted coup forcing him to flee.

His testimony is expected to cover the events that unfolded following the elections, which led him to go into exile in South Africa in May 2015.

It will also include details of his tenure as prime minister of Lesotho before elections had to be moved forward by two years as the country faced security challenges.

For a detailed interview, watch the video above.