THE Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) has reaffirmed its commitment to working with government, the opposition and other stakeholders to ensuring an all-inclusive reform process in the country.
This follows concerns that the Christian body that took a leading role in getting political parties to sign a commitment to work for multi-sector reforms had taken a back seat in the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 snap elections which ushered in the Thomas Thabane-led four parties’ coalition government.
Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention formed government along with the Alliance of Democrats, Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho. They replaced the former seven parties’ coalition that was headed by Democratic Congress leader, Pakalitha Mosisili.
Prior to the elections, the CCL played a leading role in getting most of the country’s 26 political parties to sign the Reforms Pledge- a document in which they pledged to work for the implementation of a raft of constitutional, security sector, public service, media and governance reforms to achieve lasting peace and stability which are seen as crucial for socio-economic development in Lesotho.
The reforms are in line with Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) recommendations and on Tuesday government moved to breathe life in the process through the adoption in cabinet of a proposed roadmap for reforms.
A copy of the roadmap seen by the Sunday Express, states that constitutional reforms have been necessitated by the “absence of consensus on how to govern Lesotho including how powers should be divided”.
The document also states that “the current constitutional arrangements are not appropriately designed to manage new challenges, including, in particular, those that have resulted from the Mixed Member Proportion (MMP) electoral system” which was introduced to afford smaller parties representation in parliament.
“The government therefore emphasizes the need for an all-inclusive approach in which the entire spectrum of Basotho including all political parties and the public participate to ensure the universal acceptance of the reforms.”
Speaking to the Sunday Express in the wake of the adoption of the roadmap and the recent two-day media dialogue on reforms in Maseru, CCL Secretary General, Khosi Makubakube, said his organisation remained committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the success of the reforms.
“The CCL has not been quiet on the reforms after the elections, in fact we met with the new government in August to remind them that all political parties had committed to making reforms a priority once in government,” CCL Secretary General Khosi Makubakube said.
He said during that meeting the government committed to making the reforms one of its priorities.
He however, said it was important for everyone to understand that the reform process could not commence without a proper guiding tool which is why the roadmap was very important.
“Coming up with the roadmap, for us, is an indication that government is walking the talk and we are hopeful that we are moving in the direct direction. So we kept pushing behind closed doors and we never rested on the issue of reforms.”
He said the fact that government took almost six months to produce the roadmap should not be construed to mean that it was dragging its feet on an issue of utmost national and international significance.
He said the delay was justified by the fact that government had to address other pressing challenges.
“Shortly after they came to power, the army commander was assassinated and that threatened our security. Our security is a critical aspect that needed to be dealt with urgently because any government cannot operate well when its country’s security is at stake,” Mr Makubakube said.
His remarks were in reference to the 5 September 2017 assassination of army commander, Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo by his subordinates – Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi who shot him in cold blood at his Ratjomose Barracks office in Maseru.
Both Sechele and Hashatsi were shot killed on the same day during a shoot-out with the late commander’s bodyguards.
Mr Makubakube explained that after addressing this security situation, the government had a fundamental role in coming up with the roadmap which will be used a tool to ensure that Lesotho does not lose focus during the reform process.
He said the CCL was hopeful that the government would soon bring together all stakeholders in an inclusive National Dialogue as part of steps towards ensuring the success of the reforms.