Lesotho political scientist sceptical about peace prospects on election

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Maseru – The National University of Lesotho (NUL)head of the department of Political Science, Dr Motlamelle Kapa has expressed skepticism about any prospects for restoration of peace after the February 2015 general election.

Deliberating on the topic ‘The Place of an Army in the Constitutional Democracy’ at the Friends Meeting organized by the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) yesterday, Dr Kapa said Lesotho was facing difficult times at the time it was forced to head for the snap general election.

He told participants that included principal chiefs, civil society organizations, faith based movements, academia and friends of the TRC, that the security situation in the country was not conducive to holding of peaceful election.

Dr Kapa wondered whether the mountain Kingdom needed an army saying such a debate should be a socially discussed matter across the all levels of the nation. That, he added, would dwell on whether there it was necessary to maintain an army or otherwise.

Added Dr Kapa: ”It is only in Lesotho where the army (command) behaves the way it has done, where someone refuses to go home when dismissed.’ This was in reference to Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s persistent refusal to leave the army when Prime Minister Thomas Thabane terminated his command within the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

He explained that the country was in such a bad state of political standing primarily due to poor economic status “for the fact that the economy is skewed on minority being wealthy” while a large population languished in poverty.

“So the politics in our country have become an industry generating employ. In addition, corruption is also at the root of Lesotho’s political instability,’ Dr Kapa remarked.

In his presentation, Advocate Hoolo ‘Nyane, a lecturer in NUL said the army should be placed under the civilian authority by popular will.

This, he warned, was due to the fact that Lesotho is a constitutional democracy although there has been a subjective political control of the army for many years.

“The army is the least democratic institution but there should be a high level of professionalism within the institution and subordination to civil control. There should be a recognition of the army as bestowed with professionalism and competency,” said Advocate ’Nyane.

Reminiscent of the August 30 2014 attack at the Lesotho Mounted Police Service installations in Maseru, Hoolo suggested that it was an operation by the army and was not sanctioned by the Prime Minister.

He said such events “illuminated a long standing problem of civil-military relations.” But, he added, there was hope that a resurgence of the constitutional rule in 1993 brought hope the relations could be smoothed for an “army that had ran amok.”

He observed that Lesotho’s political instability was highly influenced by politicians who consolidate their power through army control.

Yesterday’s TRC meeting comes at the time the country’s three security chiefs Lieutenant General Kamoli and Lieutenant Gneral Maaparankoe Mahao of the LDF and the Lesotho Mounted Police Commissioner Khothatso T’sooana signed a Security Accord to end the two agencies’ hostilities since August 39 2014.

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