The SADC Wrap: Shootings in Lesotho and Tanzania, and Angola’s opposition challenges vote tally
From across southern Africa, KRISTEN VAN SCHIE brings you a weekly round-up of news making regional waves.
Lesotho’s army chief was murdered last week in an ongoing political and military crisis that has been stripping the country of real stability since 2014.
Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motšomotšo was fatally shot on Tuesday morning in a confrontation that also killed two of his subordinates, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.
In a press conference that afternoon, Prime Minister Tom Thabane said investigations were in progress, but held back from elaborating on a motive for the shooting, saying “quite clearly it is a very complicated issue”.
But, quoting the country’s foreign minister, the Lesotho Times reports that the altercation was sparked by a renewed police investigation into a fatal 2014 shooting in which Sechele and Hashatsi were implicated.
“They said to the general, ‘Why are you leaving us in the hands of the police? We are not feeling safe’,” Lesego Makgothi told the paper, claiming Sechele opened fire on Motšomotšo before he and Hashatsi were both killed by the army chief’s bodyguards.
The SADC condemned the killing and deployed a fact-finding mission to the group’s tiny member state.
Its track record in bringing stability to Lesotho – Motšomotšo is the second army chief to be killed, while the country has had three elections in five years – doesn’t inspire confidence.
Speaking to AFP, political analyst Kopano Makoa said, “SADC chose to address political problems but not the serious security issues... Facilitating elections while leaving security issues behind shows that SADC missed the point.”
A Tanzanian politician is recovering in hospital after being gunned down by unknown assailants last week.
Tundu Lissu, of the opposition Chadema party, was shot in his vehicle near his home shortly after leaving parliament on Thursday afternoon.
Reports The Citizen: “His attackers sprayed the front passenger door of his black Toyota Land Cruiser with bullets after Mr Lissu apparently hesitated to alight from the vehicle... This reporter counted at least 18 bullet holes on the door and its closed window. There were also bullet holes on the rear door and one of the tyres was shot out. Thinking that they had killed the lawmakers, the gunmen, who were in a car with heavily tinted windows, sped away from the scene.”
Lissu’s driver rushed him to hospital, where he was reportedly treated for gunshot wounds to his abdomen. He was later transferred to a hospital in Nairobi.
This is not the first time Lissu has made headlines this year. He was arrested in July after calling President John Magufuli a “dictator”.
But the ruling party was quick to condemn the attack. Reports Al Jazeera: “Magufuli tweeted that he was ‘shocked to hear the news of the attack on Tundu Lissu and I pray to God almighty that he will soon recover’.” His ruling CCM party called for a manhunt for the perpetrators.
Angola’s opposition parties last week launched a legal challenge over election results, after the country’s electoral commission dismissed concerns raised over the ballot-counting process.
The National Electoral Commission (CNE) on Wednesday confirmed that the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) had won 61% of the vote, securing a solid majority of parliamentary seats and winning the presidency for the party’s candidate, former defence minister Joao Lourenço.
The vote was held without incident, said the CNE, and met international standards.
But on Friday the opposition headed to the constitutional court, saying the CNE had ignored several red flags.
“The law was completely violated and that means the results which the CNE published are invalid,” said the spokesman from the MPLA’s main rival, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), according to Reuters.
UNITA won 26.6% of the vote. DM
Photo: Lesotho's army chief was murdered last week. In this file photo dated 5 August 2014, Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane arrives in the White House in Washington DC. Photo Michael Reynolds/(EPA).