1 September 2014

Lesotho: SADC Meets Over Lesotho Tensions

Photo: Aurecongroup
What's at stake for South Africa as the Basotho struggle to overcome their political differences - water from the Maluti Mountains for South Africa's industrial heartland.

Pretoria — Foreign Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) states are meeting in Pretoria this morning to discuss the reported "coup" in Lesotho.

President Jacob Zuma called the meeting in his capacity as the chair of the SADC organ on politics and defence, according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco). The meeting will be attended by Zimbabwe and Namibia.

However, the department could not confirm the reported meeting between President Zuma and Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and other members of the kingdom's coalition.

The SADC meeting comes after tensions erupted in the small neighbouring country.

On Saturday, the Lesotho Defence Force took over the radio and TV stations, resulting in a total black out in broadcast. The army had also taken over several police stations, including the police headquarters.

The incidents have also forced Prime Minister Thabane and one of the leaders in the coalition government to go into hiding.

"Although no one has claimed to have taken over the government through the use of force, by all accounts, the activities of the Lesotho Defence Force thus far bear the hallmarks of a coup d'état.

"The South African Government, consistent with the AU position on unconstitutional change of government, wishes to reaffirm the AU position and warn that such unconstitutional change of government shall not be tolerated," Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a media briefing in Pretoria on Saturday.

South Africa further called on the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force to order the army to return to their barracks and allow the democratically elected government of the kingdom to carry on with its business.

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