THE opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), recently walked out of the political leaders’ forum in protest over the government’s alleged failure to compile a report from the previous meetings.
LCD Spokesperson, Teboho Sekata, told the Sunday Express that they walked out of the Thursday meeting in Maseru after the government reneged on its obligation to provide a consolidated report of all the meetings held so far as the parties continue with their quest to develop a conducive atmosphere for the implementation of multi-sector reforms.
The constitutional, security sector, media, governance and public service reforms were recommended by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2016.
They are aimed at creating lasting peace and stability which is crucial for sustainable socio-economic development in the country.
Speaking on the LCD walkout, Mr Sekata said that, “In our last meeting at the Convention Centre in Maseru, it was agreed by all parties that there would be a report which would later be adopted by all parties on the sittings.”
“But surprisingly, instead of getting the report, the feedback was verbally communicated to us and we decided to walk out.
“We have been very clear from the onset that we want all the sessions captured so that the consolidated report can be used for reference purposes in future, especially because we are dealing with a very critical issue of reforms that needs to be handled with great caution.
“Whatever we agree on will be communicated to the international community which took part in stabilising this country’s political situation and we therefore need to have documented evidence.”
Mr Sekata said in the last meeting Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, had promised to avail the report but he was however, absent from the Thursday meeting and left them to deal with Communications Minister, Thesele ’Maseribane.
Some of the key LCD demands to guarantee their participation in the reforms process include the establishment of a Government of National Unity, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a moratorium on all “politically-motivated” arrests including that of detained former army commander, Tlali Kamoli.
Lt-Gen Kamoli is currently detained at the Maseru Maximum Prison awaiting trial for a plethora of murder and attempted murder charges.
Mr Sekata said they also wanted the parties’ meetings to be opened to the media “as we feel that there has to be transparency and there is nothing to hide”.
The media has a stake in this issues and they must get first-hand information to report to the people.”
Efforts to get hold of Mr ’Maseribane were fruitless as he repeatedly sent messages to this publication, saying, “Sorry I can’t talk right now” since Thursday.
He however, appeared on national television on Friday, dismissing the opposition demands for a GNU.
“We are the government that was voted for by the people and a GNU has nothing to do with the reforms. And when the LCD walked out they were exercising their right to do so as the opposition,” Mr ’Maseribane said.
The meeting has however, been hailed as a positive development in the path towards implementing the reforms.
The Secretary General of the Christian Council of Lesotho’s (CCL), Khosi Makubakube, said the Thursday meeting was just the beginning of more meetings aimed at building mutual trust towards the actualisation of the reforms.
“This is very promising and although a date has not yet been agreed upon for the national dialogue, at least we can safely say that we are heading somewhere and everyone has realised that there is no place for violence in Lesotho.
“All the leaders have raised concerns about the political instability in Lesotho and the deeply-rooted anger felt for each other could be done away with once and for all,” Mr Makubakube said.
His sentiments were echoed by the leader of Popular Front for Democracy, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, who said that the fact that we can finally sit down to talk and give each other tasks is a clear sign that we are all committed and headed towards the right direction where we shall all heal and build a better Lesotho”.