WINDHOEK – Namibia has sent 39 police officers to act as a contingent observer team in the political unstable Lesotho. Oshikoto Regional Commander, Commissioner Anne-Marie Nainda will lead the team of police officers. Police Inspector General, Lieutenant Sebastian Ndeitunga said if the political unrest does not return to normal within three months, then there will an extension to their stay in that country.
The deployment forms part of a meeting resolution after coalition government leaders agreed last Monday on a roadmap with clear timelines on removing parliament prorogation, which started in June.
“If the mission is not complete before the elections, we will see how we can arrange for you to cast your votes. So in those three months you must work as a united team and true ambassadors of Namibia. We will be waiting for you as heroes who have complied to instructions,” he encouraged.
In an attempt to restore constitutional normalcy, leaders of the coalition government in Lesotho have agreed to hold early elections on a yet-to-be determined date. Elections in Lesotho are initially slated for 2017, but the political instability in that country prompted leaders to move for an earlier date.
“You are not sent there as politicians or commentators, you are sent there to observe peace, security of the people and leadership of Lesotho. Do not mingle in the political affairs of that country,” Ndeitunga warned while addressing the team on Friday before they departed.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders last week met in South Africa to discuss the security and political situation in the region with particular reference to Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
SADC leaders who met in South Africa last week decided that the SADC Organ Troika as a well as Zimbabwe, must as a matter of urgency deploy the full SADC Politics, Defence and Security observation mission in Lesotho for three months, after which it could be reviewed to ensure peace and stability within the Defence and Security establishments.
“The summit urged the leaders of the coalition government in Lesotho to uphold their commitments towards restoration constitutional normalcy in the kingdom. In this regard, the summit noted that the leaders of the coalition government have agreed to bring forward the date of the elections from 2017 to a date agreed upon after consultations between the coalition leaders of the coalition government and other political stakeholders,” reads an official document released by SADC’s secretariat last week.
According to SADC, coalition leaders were also urged to work together to lift the parliament prorogation within the agreed time during which focus should be placed in preparing the brought forward elections.
Monday’s meeting was attended by South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, Botswana’s Lieutenant General, Sereste Khama Ian Khama, Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Vice President of Malawi Saulos Chilima as well as DRC ministers Raymond Tshibanda, Namibia’s Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Tanzania’s minister, Bernad Membe.
South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, with support from the SADC secretariat and a team of experts from Troika member states, will act as the SADC facilitator to Lesotho. – Additional reporting by Mathias Haufiku"