Posted on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:05

Lesotho: Cyril Ramaphosa seeks dialogue

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading SADC's facilitation mission in Lesotho. Photo©ReutersThe Southern African Development Community's point man in Lesotho, South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Lesotho on Monday to continue with his facilitation duties.

"During the visit, the facilitator paid a courtesy call on His Majesty King Letsie III before holding consultations with the Prime Minister Tom Thabane, Deputy Prime Minister, Mothejoa Metsing, European Union (EU) Ambassador, Dr Michael Doyle and members of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)," Ramaphosa's spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa said.

The tiny landlocked Mountain Kingdom has been in turmoil since an attempted coup in August, which saw the country's Prime Minister Thabane flee to South Africa.

The Lesotho Defence Force had taken over the radio and TV stations, resulting in a total black out in broadcast and the army also took over several police stations, including the police headquarters.

Thabane and several high-ranking officials, including the Speaker of Parliament fled to South Africa and were later escorted, under heavy police presence, back to the capital Maseru.

Ramaphosa is leading the SADC facilitation mission and has been to the country four times, to smooth dialogue between Lesotho's political role players.

In September, Ramaphosa said he was encouraged by the tenure and the way of the discussions and all the parties were committed to implement decisions that were taken by SADC leaders.

In an attempt to bring stability to that country, Ramaphosa facilitated the signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration among Lesotho's main political players.

The declaration provided for the reconvening of Lesotho's parliament by King Letsie III on Friday.

The parliamentary sitting discussed the country's budget and the holding of elections. Basotho (Lesotho nationals) are expected to head to the polls at the end of February 2015.

The king is set to decide on a final date in consultation with the SADC negotiator.

Ramaphosa is scheduled return to Lesotho on Wednesday and Thursday.

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