Statement of the political tensions in Lesotho
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02 September 2014
The Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and the South Africa Forum on International Solidarity (SAFIS) note that military coup in Lesotho is not a new phenomenon ,with slightly under two decades, Lesotho has experienced a military coup twice . Lesotho is the only country in the SADC region to have had coups in our recent times. Since independence in October 1966 Lesotho has had several military coups, which happen despite Lesotho’s constitutional provisions on democratic governance and many other regional and international protocols that the country has ratified.
Since prorogation of parliament in June 2014, we note with disappointment that the country is battling to consolidate good governance, democracy and the rule of law, within its coalition government. We also note that the Lesotho army is highly politicised and therefore compromised.
The AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (article 23) is appalled to illegal means of attaining or maintaining power as an act of unconstitutional change of government. During the recent SADC summit in Victoria Falls- Zimbabwe, the SADC Heads of States and governments appealed to all political leaders and the general population of Lesotho to refrain from any action that could undermine peace, security and stability in their country. HURISA is urging all parties to resolve their concerns through guidance of the constitution and laws of the country.
The political crisis in Lesotho has led to people of the region not having confidence on Lesotho as the chair of the SADC Troika on the organ for peace, security and defence cooperation and not being given the opportunity to chair this important SADC troika. The current chair of SADC Troika of the organ on politics, defence and security cooperation has been given to South Africa, for three months to give Lesotho a chance to solve their political problems at home and not regenerate into a crisis.
We condemn and reject in total the unconstitutional attempts to change government.
We call all parties to adhere to the country’s constitution, laws, SADC decisions of the summit dated 18 August 2014, the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which Lesotho is a state party to and its acts.
We call upon the army to respect the democratic government and decisions made by the prime minister. They must stop the attacks on police and civilians immediately. The police must continue protecting civilians and ensuring safety and that human rights are upheld. All state parties must respect human rights and democratic principles of the country, regional and international commitments.
Issued by: Litlhare Rabele- HURISA’s Peace, Security & Gender Equality Programme Coordinator
Sipho Theys- SAFIS’s Project Coordinator