The African Union Commission (AUC) and SADC Secretariat conducted a Joint Technical Assessment Mission of SADC Preventive Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho (SAPMIL) from 05 to 09 February 2018. Team was led by Mr. Simon Baza from the Secretariat of the AU Peace and Security Council. This mission was conducted pursuant to the decision of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) that was adopted at its 748th Meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 24 January 2018.
The Team held consultations with various stakeholders namely: SAPMIL Senior Leadership Team, Lesotho Government officials, opposition political parties (both inside and outside Parliament), civil society and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), the Christian Council of Lesotho and the Lesotho Law Society. The Team also had an opportunity to visit the SAPMIL deployment areas.
Among other things, the Team observed that there was a general view by all stakeholders in the Kingdom of Lesotho that SAPMIL has acted as a deterrent. In this context, ever since its deployment, the security situation in the country has been relatively calm and there is an improved working relation between and amongst the various security agencies. The Team commended the SAPMIL for discharging its mandate in a professional manner and urged the personnel to continue with the same spirit despite the few operational challenges that exist. On the other hand, the Team also commended the Government of Lesotho for the support rendered so far to SAPMIL and urged the government to ensure that the current momentum towards the implementation of the reforms is maintained in order to bring stability in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The Team emphasized that consensus and inclusiveness is central towards the reform process, therefore all parties must adhere to.
It was observed that there is an urgent need for the AU and other partners to provide technical and financial assistance to enable the SAPMIL to effectively discharge its mandate. This includes meeting the current SAPMIL financial shortfall of USD 1,613,928.00; providing requisite logistical equipment namely power generators, water purification plant, staff vehicles and communication infrastructure (C3IS); and also mobilizing experts such as Judges, Security Sector Reform (SSR) and good governance experts, and other sector specific expertise.
At the end of the Mission, the Team thanked the SADC Secretariat and the SAPMIL leadership for the reception and ensuring that the mission was a success. The Team assured the SADC Secretariat of the AU readiness to support the SAPMIL and that the support to the Kingdom of Lesotho is based on the ideals of the AU Agenda 2063 that has an overall aspiration of “Silencing the Guns by 2020”.
The report of the Joint Technical Assessment Mission will be presented to the next Peace and Security Council (PSC) in February 2018 meeting for further consideration and guidance.
The SAPMIL was officially deployed to Lesotho from 20 to 28 November 2017 and launched on the 2 December 2017. The Mission has been deployed as a multidimensional Contingent comprising of the Military, Police, Intelligence and Civilian components for an initial period of six (6) months.