Lesotho impasse resolved

Tendai Mugabe Harare Bureau
SADC under the leadership of President Mugabe, has resolved a potentially explosive situation in Lesotho after an attempted coup by that country’s expelled army commander Lieutenant-General Kennedy Kamoli last week.
President Mugabe, who assumed reins of the regional body last month, dispatched a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi on Sunday to be part of the Troika meeting that resolved the matter in South Africa.

Other members of the Zimbabwe delegation included Commander of the Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga and Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha.

The Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Troika) is chaired by South Africa and its other members are Namibia and Lesotho itself.
However, Lesotho was not part of the Troika because it was on the agenda of the meeting.

Impeccable sources who attended the Pretoria meeting said it was agreed that Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his delegation that included the police chief who had fled Maseru for South Africa should return home by today.

He said PM Thabane and his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing also met Troika Chair and South African President Jacob Zuma and committed to work together as a coalition.
“The Zimbabwean delegation and other Troika members met PM Thabane and his delegation to review the situation in Lesotho on Sunday,” said the source.

“The following day PM Thabane and his deputy met Troika chairperson President Zuma.”
It is understood that after the meeting, PM Thabane and DPM Metsing produced a joint statement where they said they were happy to work together as a coalition and expect King Letsie III to also issue a statement.

“It was further agreed that PM Thabane and his delegation should be in Maseru by September 3,” said the source.
PM Thabane and DPM Metsing agreed to come up with a roadmap to normalise the situation in their country.

In the statement, the source said, it was indicated that DPM Metsing was highly unlikely to call for a vote of no confidence in PM Thabane.
The source added that a team of defence chiefs was dispatched to review the situation in Lesotho on Tuesday.

The defence chiefs, the source said, reported that the situation was calm and Lt Gen Kamoli said he was willing to step down.
“The defence chiefs also reported that Lt Gen Kamoli said he was not contemplating any coup,” said the source.

Another source said a Sadc observer team would soon be dispatched to Lesotho to monitor the situation and the implementation of agreed issues.
The team would comprise members from defence, police, diplomats and a civilian component.

Minister Mumbengewi was expected to brief President Mugabe of the latest developments as Sadc chair and it was not clear whether he had done so by late yesterday.

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