The Defence Academy delivered first Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context (MDWSC) course in Lesotho.
The course, held at Makoanyane Barracks in the capital Maseru, saw 31 delegates from Lesotho, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe engage with civil military relations, transparency, building integrity, ethics, rule of law and the management of defence.
This course has come at a challenging time for Lesotho, which has had a chequered history in the role of the security forces in the country. The last four years have seen tensions that have erupted in violence, including an attempted coup that culminated in the killing of the Chief Of Defence Staff by commanders in the Special Forces in September 2017, who were themselves killed by loyal members of the unit.
This crisis led to the intervention of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the deployment of the SADC Preventative Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL) in December 2017. The MDWSC therefore focussed very much on the effective civil control of security forces and good governance. These subjects generated considerable debate as the course was attended by officials who had been imprisoned and tortured during periods of tension and members of rival agencies that had previously clashed as well as officials from SAPMIL.
Officially opening the training, Lesotho Defence Courses Commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, reminded the course participants that the course was one of the milestones in the country’s endeavour to realise the reforms of Basotho nation at large. He said: ‘I am confident that you student-officers will not only gain knowledge from the programme or your interactions with your fellow programme members but you will also enrich the learning programme in the lives of your colleagues in your stay and after’.
He went on to say: ‘We are also keen that in your stay in Lesotho, no matter how busy you will be, you will be able to appreciate the peaceful and enabling security situation in the country first hand. As you may be aware of today’s dynamic and rapid change in security environment facing nations, Britain’s efforts to bring about professionalism in our countries particularly the defence forces and security as a whole, go a long way in realising the need to realign a working models for these institutions into a cornerstone of a state sovereignty that will be able to deliver fundamental functions of the governments for the benefits of the citizen’.