South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was dispatched to Lesotho as political instability in the mountain kingdom worsened following the killing of a former defense chief.
President Jacob Zuma, as head of Southern African Development Community’s peace and defense committee, “has become more concerned about the apparent explosive security situation in Lesotho,” SADC said in a statement on Tuesday. Ramaphosa was sent to Lesotho after a committee from the regional grouping visited the country from June 26 to 29 and reported its findings to Zuma, it said.
Maarparankoe Mahao, Lesotho’s former defense force commander, was shot dead on June 25 by soldiers during an operation to arrest suspected coup plotters, according to the defense ministry.
The kingdom has been in turmoil since ex-Prime Minister Tom Thabane dismissed Tlali Kamoli as army commander for alleged coup plotting and replaced him with Mahao in August. After Feb. 28 elections produced no clear winner, a coalition government led by the Democratic Congress named Pakalitha Mosisili as premier and Kamoli was reinstated.
Zuma will also send an envoy to Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, to share his concerns about the security situation in Lesotho with the SADC’s chairman, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, South Africa’s government said in a statement. Ramaphosa is due to return home on Wednesday, it said.