The regional social movement fraternity was moved when the wife of the former and slain commander of Lesotho Defense Force Lt. Gen Maaparankoe Mahao ‘Mamphanya Maaparankoe Mahao took podium and spoke not only to the brutality of the assassination of her husband but also the tormenting experience when government blatantly covers up for the killers, rapidly ascends them through the command ladder so that they bury justice at the Capital Hill Braamfontein, South Africa at the People’s Summit on August 17.
Lt. Gen Maaparankoe Mahao’s wife speaks about the assassination of Mahao – SADC Peoples Summit
‘Mamphanya otherwise referred to as “Commando” given the boldness she handled the ordeal of persecution of his husband with, was part of the Lesotho delegation of 22 people from different civil organisations holding the flag of Action for Peace and Solidarity(APS). The other sectors represented were transport (taxi industry) on cross border issues, civil society on human rights and economic justice issues related to extractive industries, labour movement, rural communities on economic exclusion and inequality and the youth on the right to participation.
The Lesotho delegation was headed by Mosala Mokutlulu Peace Education Researcher at Development for Peace and Education, the member organisation of the Regional Coordinating Committee Southern African People’s Solidarity
She addressed the democracy, human rights and governance cluster where she tabled challenges faced by the people in Lesotho.
“People in my country when they see soldiers they see killers because military civil relationship has been tarnished due rampant killings and torture of civilians by soldiers” Mahao elaborated.
Even though SADC summits are always about determination of leaders to tackle common challenges and problems that include corruption, illicit financial flows, violation of human rights and oppression of freedom of speech among other things many people in the majority of SADC countries people have been victims of different forms of state brutality and Mahao is no exception as her husband was brutality killed by his fellow colleagues, in the institution that should have protected him.
DPE as an organisation that advocates for empowerment of communities through animation to promote the culture of peace. The teachings of the organisation are based on the Christian values of justice, sharing and respect for human dignity. Other delegates of the Lesotho team took part in the regional tertiary debates, mining affected communities, democracy, human rights and governance. They all represented the Lesotho case on how Basotho are affected by the challenges within these areas of human development and others propelled by corruption, embezzlement of public funds, stunting development,violation of human rights and suppression of freedom of speech among other things.
Mahao has been advocating on various issues against violation of human rights and other issues relating to democracy after brutal murder of her husband. She is Secretary for Peace Advocacy, Solidarity and Partnerships in the APS. This is the group established immediately after Mahao was assassinated. It is a group of legends of Committee for Action and Solidarity for Southern African Students(CASSAS), Lesotho Patriotic Youth Organisation(LPYO), Lesotho Youth Federation(LYFe), Lesotho Young Christian Students(LYCS), Marotholi Travelling Theatre Group, Merabe Cultural Group and other progressive youth formations that defined the youth agenda in the early 1990s as well as individuals whose present day convictions appeal to the progressive orientation , concerned
bydegneration of ciritical thought in the public discourse resulting into a bourgeoisie state led by self-serving leadership marked by disrespect for human rights , deterioration of rule of law, polarity and shrinking political space, economic deprivation, cultural alienation, culture of violence and general sense of unhappiness among Basotho.