The 37th Southern African Development Community (SADC) parliamentary forum started on Monday in Durban, South Africa to discuss a variety of issues, with a focus on peace and stability in Lesotho.

The meeting took place after the recent killing of Lieutenant- General Maaparankoe Mahao, Lesotho’s former army commander and the fleeing of several opposition leaders to South Africa.

Mahao’s death, which has led to political and social unrest, will be investigated with the help of the SADC.
South Africa Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been reappointed by the SADC Double Troika Summit, held in Pretoria last week, to continue with his facilitation work for peace and stability in Lesotho.

The SADC continues to remain seized with the situation in Lesotho at the highest level, South African President Jacob Zuma said at the forum.

There have been numerous extraordinary ministerial and summit meetings to consider the situation and provide guidance on the region’s support to resolve it in a peaceful and lasting manner, Zuma said.
“We have in our capacity as the Chair of the Organ continued to remain engaged on the political and security situations in the Kingdom of Lesotho,” Zuma said.

Paul Stephens, a political commentator and senior international relations lecturer at the Monash University, told Xinhua that the situation in Lesotho needs to be dealt with once and for all before it destabilizes the region.
“The allegation that the assassination of Mahao, a key ally of former Prime Minister Tom Thabane, who is now the main opposition leader, was sanctioned by military top brass in the ruling party is quite worrisome. The SADC needs to investigate these allegations and come to the bottom of the truth,” Stephens said.

Mahao was shot dead outside Maseru, capital of Lesotho late last month. Tseliso Mokhosi, Lesotho’s defense minister, claimed that Mahao was shot when he pointed a firearm at the soldiers sent to arrest him.
The SADC Troika has appointed a commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mahao’s death. The commission is expected to complete its investigation within 60 days. Enditem


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