The assassination of military commanders in Lesotho: triggers and reactions


  • Mokete Pherudi CISSA



Civil-military relations (CMR), Security Sector Reform (SSR), Lesotho Defense Force (LDF), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Burgerlik-militêre verhoudings (CMR), Sekuriteitsektor-vormings (SSR), Lesotho Verdedigingsmag (LDF), Suider-Afrikaanse Ontwikkelingsgemeenskap (SADC)


This article investigates civil-military relations (CMR) in Lesotho and its impact on political and security stability. The nature of CMR is unmasked by tracing the evolution of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and the history of its politicisation. The assassinations of LDF commanders, Lt-Gen Maaparankoe Mahao in 2015 and Lt-Gen Khoantle Mots?omots?o in 2017, respectively, by members from within their ranks, are explored to illustrate how the undue involvement of the military in politics has contributed to instability in Lesotho. Other triggers contributing to the unstable situation are highlighted. The enquiry of this article is not only about the nature of CMR but how the regional body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has sought to intervene in Lesotho with the aim of firstly stabilising the politics and security of the country. SADC’s other aim has been the facilitating of security sector reforms that will, amongst other things, configure CMR such that the armed forces are accountable to civilian authority and they do not meddle in political contest.


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