4 September 2022, Kingdom of Lesotho, Maseru. The much-anticipate African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Targeted Review Mission on Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG) kick started in Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho, from 24 September to 5 October 2022. The APRM Targeted Review Mission on UCG is undertaken as part of the development of the African Governance Report which is developed by the APRM in collaboration with the African Governance Architecture Platform Members (AGA) and presented to the African Union Assembly of Heads of State (Assembly)and Government at its Ordinary Sessions every two (2) years. The Targeted Review Mission is also done pursuant to the decision of the 16th AU Extraordinary Session of the Assembly on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government held in Malabo, Republic Equatorial. The Assembly had mandated the APRM and AGA to remodel the third edition of the biannual African Governance Report (AGR 23) which is to be presented to the Assembly in February, 2023 to reflect issues related to UCGs on the continent.
The Kingdom of Lesotho was one of the countries identified to undergo the Targeted Review based on the invitation from H.E Maada Julius Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Chairperson of the African Peer Review (APR) Forum of Heads of State and Government. The Right Honourable Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, welcomed the APR Forum Chair’s invitation for Lesotho to be one of six AU Member States to undergo a targeted review on UGG and share best practices for successful transition from previous unconstitutional changes of government.
The APRM Mission was led by Amb. Aly Hossam El -Din EL HEFNY MAHMOUD lead panelist for Lesotho. The Mission arrived in Lesotho with the aim to generate country case study chapter for the AGR-23 that will identify and analyze the causes, catalysts and triggers of UCG. The methodology utilized by the Mission in examining the drivers of unconstitutional changes was a Governance Gap Analysis Tool developed by the APRM. This research methodology also considered the underlying factors leading to UCGs such as human rights violations, constitutionalism and state legitimacy, integrity of democratic elections, economic governance and public sector accountability, popular uprisings and military interventions.
The delegation paid a courtesy call to The Rt. Hon. Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, on the 4th of October 2022. During the meeting the APRM lead Panelist, Amb. Aly Hossam El -Din EL HEFNY MAHMOUD thanked Rt. Hon. Prime Minster for the very warm hospitality and welcome accorded to him and the entire team since their arrival in Lesotho. He further expressed his satisfaction with the wide-ranging consultations the team conduct since arriving in Maseru. He also thanked the Government and People of Lesotho for the demonstration of national leadership, determination, and commitment to democracy and good governance that have enabled the review team to complete the targeted review mission.
As part of stakeholder engagement, the APRM delegation met with Members of Cabinet, President of Senate, the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, the Independent Electoral Commission, the Auditor General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Ombudsman Director General of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences, Speaker of Parliament, the Independent Electoral Commission, Principal Secretaries, and other Senior Government Officials. The mission also met with representatives of the Private Sector, Political Parties, Academia, Religious Groups, Traditional Leadership, Development Partners, Civil Society Organization as well as Media.
The key outputs of the targeted review mission in Lesotho will be a targeted review report that will be tabled at the 32nd APR Forum of Heads of States and Governments for peer review. Furthermore, the key outputs of the report will form a case study chapter which will form part of the AGR 2023. The report will highlight the root causes of UCG, share best practices and lessons learnt as well as recommendations aimed at preventing future cases of UCG.
The delegation is very humbled and grateful for the excellent facilitation of the various engagements despite the fact that the country is gearing towards national elections scheduled to take place on the 7th October 2022.
The APRM as a premier AU institution that promotes democracy and good governance on the continent wishes people of the Kingdom of Lesotho free, fair and peaceful elections.