THE much-anticipated National Multi Stake-holder Dialogue, which is a crucial part of the multi-sector reforms, is expected to begin tomorrow and end on Wednesday.
The national dialogue is of the processes that Lesotho has set in motion and these should culminate in the implementation of constitutional, security sector, judicial, governance and media reforms that were recommended in 2016 by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister, Lesego Makgothi, has previously stated that the purpose of the national dialogue which brings together leaders of the governing and opposition parties and other stakeholders, will culminate in the formulation of the draft reform agenda.
“The National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue will deliberate and delve into the core business of the reform areas, the mode of operation as well as the institutional arrangements for the reforms process,” Mr Makgothi said.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, who was tasked by SADC to facilitate the peace and reforms in Lesotho, is expected to attend tomorrow’s event along with fellow presidents Edgar Lungu (Zambia) and Hage Geingob (Namibia). Mr Lungu is the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security while Mr Geingob is the chairperson of SADC.
The co-chairperson of the National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC), Sam Rapapa, said the head of the SADC facilitation team to Lesotho, Justice Dikgang Moseneke is also expected to grace the event.
Held under the theme, ‘The Lesotho We Want: Dialogue and Reforms for National Transformation’, the three-day event is expected to bring together 600 participants at the ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre.
Day one of the dialogue will bring together various stakeholders drawn from the academia, non-governmental organisations including disabled persons, faith-based organisations, youths, women, the media, traditional groups, the business sector and the media.
His Majesty King Letsie III is expected to deliver the key note address. Mr Ramaphosa will present an overview on the reforms programme while Mr Lungu will also deliver his remarks on the reforms.
The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme are both expected to deliver messages of support.
On the second day the finalisation of short term and long-term recommendations and pathways for reconciliation and lasting peace and stability is expected to be achieved.
Constitutional, security sector, judiciary and parliamentary issues are scheduled to be discussed on the final day.
The Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and the official leader of the opposition Mothibeli Mokhothu are also scheduled to give addresses on the final day.
The reforms process had stalled largely as a result of the bickering between the government and the opposition over the latter’s demands for the establishment of a government of national unity and an end to the prosecutions of army officers suspected of human rights violations among other things.
Up until then, the only tangible developments with regards to the reforms process had been Prime Minister Thabane’s speech in parliament to formally launch the reforms and the holding of the National Day of Prayer for the reforms in June.
However, a deal that was signed by the government and the opposition on 16 October this year has breathed new life into the reforms process.
The deal paves the way for the return of Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Mothetjoa Metsing and other opposition leaders who had fled the country citing alleged government plots to kill them.
However, clause 10 of the deal which had sought to impose a moratorium on the criminal prosecution of Mr Metsing and other exiled leaders has been struck down by 22 November Constitutional Court ruling.
Never-the-less, the opposition says Mr Metsing will still return today to participate in the national dialogue.