PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane’s government is unhappy with Cyril Ramaphosa continuing his role as the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s facilitator to Lesotho. It wants him replaced forthwith, the Lesotho Times has established.
The government’s position on Mr Ramaphosa, who is also South Africa’s Deputy President and currently enmeshed in a spirited battle to replace Jacob Zuma as that country’s president, is contained in a confidential SADC report, obtained by this newspaper this week.
While the Thabane coalition is not happy with Mr Ramaphosa, the report reveals that opposition parties are in favour of retaining him as facilitator.
“There have also been divergent views regarding the continued role of the Facilitator in that the government expressed the need to find a replacement while the opposition is in favour of retaining the current Facilitator but to be assisted by a mediator preferably a Basotho national,” reads part of the document titled ‘Draft Integrated Mission Plan for the Deployment of the Contingent Mission to the Kingdom of Lesotho’.
And while the report does not elaborate on the reasons for the government’s position, sources have claimed that the governing parties believe Mr Ramaphosa has previously sided with the parties now in opposition by allegedly overlooking serious security threats posed by the army in the past.
Mr Ramaphosa was appointed to facilitate the restoration of peace and stability in Lesotho after the August 30 2014 attempted coup against the then government of Dr Thabane.
During that event, the Lesotho Defence Force stormed various police stations and seized arms they claimed were to be used against civilians at a Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) rally that same weekend.
The raids claimed the life of Police Sub-inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko. Former LDF commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, is in court over the killing.
Mr Ramaphosa also facilitated the Maseru Security Accord in 2014 which led to external deployments of Lt-Gen Kamoli, his then successor Maaparankoe Mahao and former Police Commissioner Khothatso Tṧoana pending the holding of the February 2015 snap elections. The move was aimed at fostering the restoration of cordial relations between the army and the police.
Lt-Gen Mahao was assassinated shortly after those elections. The All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP), who had been booted out of power, complained that the killing was a result of Mr Ramaphosa failing to address serious security concerns in the country. The leaders of the two parties had by then already fled into exile fearing for their lives.