Lloyd Gumbo in PRETORIA, South Africa
SADC chairman President Mugabe arrived here yesterday to attend the regional bloc’s double Troika meeting where leaders are expected to deliberate on the impending elections in Lesotho.
President Mugabe touched down at Waterkloof Airbase in Pretoria yesterday evening.
He is being accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Defence Minister Cde Sydney Sekeramayi.
Other countries that are expected to attend the meeting are South Africa and Botswana who form part of the Troika.
The polls in Lesotho will be held next Saturday, more than two years earlier than scheduled in a bid to restore stability following a coup attempt last August.
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the Sadc facilitator to the Lesotho dialogue, was earlier this week quoted in the media as saying the Troika meeting was expected to give impetus to efforts aimed at creating peace and stability in Lesotho ahead of the elections.
South African President Jacob Zuma was also quoted in the media as saying Sadc wanted the elections held “so that there is a clear government, whether it is coalition or clear winning. We want to pass through this stage”.
Soon after assuming his role as Sadc chairperson last year, President Mugabe had to immediately deal with the Lesotho crisis after an attempted coup by renegade members of the Lesotho military that saw Prime Minister Tom Thabane temporarily fleeing to South Africa.
But the timely intervention by President Mugabe led to negotiations that led to the signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration in October last year and the Maseru Security Accord the following month.