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SADC works to expedite Lesotho elections

Political parties in the mountain kingdom failed to meet a Friday deadline for a fresh peace deal.

FILE: Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Lesotho is moving forward with elections as its regional partners prepare to send in a long-term observer mission to monitor its return to stability.

Last night's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Pretoria opted for a speedy return to normalcy for Lesotho's people because their elected leaders can't arrive at a formula to end months of mounting instability.

President Jacob Zuma returned to South Africa last week after a one-day visit to rescue a peace deal which should have seen the reconstitution of Parliament.

Political parties in the mountain kingdom failed to meet a Friday deadline for a fresh peace deal, prompting South Africa to call the meeting.

The regime was dragged into Lesotho's domestic political crisis when an apparent coup last month drove Prime Minister Thomas Thabane into exile in South Africa.

He went home promising to name a date for reassembling the Parliament he suspended in June. The SADC summit said amid this crisis, the mandate on the disintegrating coalition would be shortened, so that elections due in the mountain kingdom in 2017 would be expedited.

But a former military commander, who attempted a coup, still hasn't surrendered and it's understood he has been mobilising the country's special forces.

According to weekend reports, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli has been seen in uniform and with a motorcade in parts of Maseru, including at a military hospital and the capital's airport.

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