HIS Majesty, King Letsie III, says Basotho must return to the principles of King Moshoeshoe I who founded the nation on the principles of peace and tolerance to ensure a country that is united and at peace regardless of race and religious beliefs.
His Majesty made the remarks during the National Day of Prayer for the success of the multi-sector reforms at Setsoto Stadium on Friday.
The prayers, which were held simultaneously at several venues across the country, marked the second step in the series of activities and events that are expected to culminate in the implementation of the constitutional, security sector, governance, media and judicial reforms that were recommended by the SADC in 2016.
The first step was Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s address to parliament a fortnight ago to officially launch the National Reforms Agenda.
Although the reforms were recommended by SADC in 2016, implementation has been stalled by the constant bickering between the government and the opposition.
The opposition has issued several demands including the formation of a government of national unity, the safe return of their exiled leaders and an end to criminal prosecution of their leaders and high ranking current and former army officers as preconditions to their (the opposition’s) participation in the reforms process.
The government has made it clear that a GNU is not necessary because there is already a constitutionally elected government in place. The government has also said that the prosecution of all those implicated in criminal activities is a normal judicial process that cannot be tied to the reforms process.
And while His Majesty, Dr Thabane, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki and other government leaders attended the Friday prayer session, the opposition stuck to its guns and boycotted the process.
The exception was Marematlou Freedom Party leader, Moeketse Malebo, who attended, saying he saw the need for reforms.
Speaking at the event, His Majesty called for unity and implored the nation to seek divine intervention to ensure a successful reforms process.
To emphasise his point, His Majesty quoted the bible book of II Chronicles 7 verse 14 which states that, “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land”.
King Letsie III said God would liberate Lesotho from the problems paralysing the nation and restore peace and stability.
“Moshoeshoe I built this nation and counselled that instead of pouring scorn on each other, we should treat each other as brethren. It is only when we forget how we wronged each and forgive each other that we can attain everlasting peace.
“I continue to plead that the nation should be united in the implementation of reforms and everyone must have an input so that the outcomes will cover everyone. We cannot make meaningful steps without God’s guidance as He will pave the way for the journey we are about to embark on. We need to call on God to heal our world so that we can retain the image of a peace and loving country that Lesotho has always been known for,” His Majesty said.
King Letsie III also called for the support and cooperation of the development partners to ensure the success of the reforms process.
“As we embark on this journey of reforms, we hope that our development partners will walk with us as they have been supporting us all the way. Their spirit of cooperation will never be forgotten as we strive to restore peace away from the worries that have been troubling this country,” he said.
Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso, other government dignitaries and officials from the European Union and United Nations also attended the prayer session which was led by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL).
Different faiths, including the Muslims, Hindus and the Baha’i were also represented at the event.
Various clergymen sung hymns and preached about the need for repentance, peace, national healing, reconciliation, unity and cooperation of all stakeholders.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Tlali Lerotholi said that a government could not last without the guidance of God.
“It is difficult to lead Lesotho without God and His guidance. We therefore need to ask God to lead us as He says that if we turn from our wicked ways, he will protect and guide us.
“Like Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land (Israel), we also need God to lead us into peace, rain and prosperity,” Archbishop Lerotholi said.
CCL spokesperson, Khosi Makubakube quoted Mahatma Gandhi who once said that, “What you want to see should start with you”.
Mr Makubakube said this meant that each individual should begin to change themselves in accordance with the peaceful change they wanted to see in the country.
His Majesty, Dr Thabane and the members of the CCL all released white doves into the air as a symbol of the peace which should prevail in Lesotho.
Choppers from the Lesotho Defence Force complemented their efforts by flying past the stadium with white flags to symbolise peace.