SADC Troika meeting on Lesotho underway

Pretoria: The SADC Troika of Heads of State and Government are currently meeting in Pretoria to discuss the political and security situation as well as preparations for the upcoming election in Lesotho.

The Double Troika Extraordinary Summit – involving presidents from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia held at the O.R Tambo building – comes a few days before the staging of the national elections, next week Saturday. Lesotho’s coalition government partners, led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, are also attending the meeting.

The leaders will be briefed on the final preparations for the elections and will give impetus to efforts aimed at creating peace and stability ahead of the polls.

President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as the Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and Zimbabwean President and SADC Chair Robert Mugabe are co-chairing the meeting.

This is the second time this month that President Zuma has meet with the delegation of the Lesotho government’s coalition partners, as the country’s three-party coalition has been struggling to discharge its electoral mandate, prompting SADC leaders to intervene.

SADC facilitator and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has also been frequenting Lesotho to ensure that peace and stability is maintained.

The Double Troika Extraordinary Summit comes on the heels of the launch of the SADC Election Observer Mission (EOM) in Maseru on Wednesday.

The SADC’s EOM plays an important role in observing adherence to democratic principles and practices in the conduct of elections in the region.

The election observers – who will be joined by the African Union’s observer mission – will be deployed to all the districts in Lesotho in preparation for the elections following which, as practice, issue a preliminary statement on the outcome of the elections.

Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho has declared that it’s ready to conduct credible, free and fair elections.

Lesotho has been in political turmoil since June last year, when Prime Minister Thomas Thabane suspended Parliament to avoid a vote of no confidence that was being pushed by his coalition government partners.

In late August last year, a coup to oust Thabane was thwarted. Mediated by the SADC, all conflicting parties have agreed to hold early elections.