Anatomy of Lesotho’s ‘almost’ coup d’état: The predicaments that it poses to the Southern African Development Community region peacekeeping and mediation initiatives

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By Gibson Ncube & Sandile Lukhele

The attempted coup d’état in Lesotho poses another political and potential peacekeeping challenge for the 15 nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It is time for the regional body to adopt a consistent strategy for political turmoil within its member states.

On 31 August 2014, the Lesotho army attempted to stage a coup d’état. The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) took over several police stations across the country as well as the nation’s radio and television services. Lesotho Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, fled to South Africa fearing for his safety. Although the incident immediately affected the stability of Lesotho itself, the army’s power play also presented a crucial political challenge to SADC in relation to the handling of conflicts and crises as well as the peaceful resolution thereof.