JUDGING from his comments ahead of his imminent return from exile, it would appear that almost two years in the cold has not dulled All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane’s appetite to be a big player in Lesotho’s body politic.
The former prime minister fled the country in May 2015 claiming there was an army plot to assassinate him.
Not long afterwards, Dr Thabane was joined in exile by his opposition allies — Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Thesele ’Maseribane and his Reformed Congress of Lesotho counterpart Keketso Rantšo who cited similar plots on their lives.
And as we report elsewhere in this edition, Dr Thabane is promising to hit the ground running as soon as he returns to the country on 12 February 2017.
He says his immediate task will be the resolution of the security challenges facing Lesotho.
“We are going to work on the security issues and there shall be progress,” Dr Thabane said, adding, he would give attention to the issue of reforms.
“We will deal with all those issues when we get home,” he said of the soldiers who have been court martialled over the mutiny allegations and the Amnesty Bill which is being sponsored by the seven-party coalition government with the intention of giving a blanket amnesty to members of the security forces for offences allegedly committed from 2007 to 2015.
Things are certainly heating up on the political front with political parties mushrooming at a rate where we can safely say that a new outfit is formed every month.
We certainly hope that Dr Thabane has not been moved by the need to garner mileage in what is becoming a congested political space and we hope that he is sincere in his pledge to tackle the instability bedevilling the country.
The instability has carried on for far too long and it is evident that this has not only threatened peace but also tarnished the country’s image resulting in many potential investors staying away and starving us of much needed foreign exchange earnings.
While Dr Thabane’s pledge is certainly welcome at this juncture, it would be important to remind him and other political players that no man and no party is an island and the country’s problems cannot be addressed in lieu of cooperating with all stakeholders.
This means that in as much as Dr Thabane may want to use his return to thumb his nose at his opponents in the seven parties’ coalition government, he still needs them if he is to successfully contribute to ending the instability.
However much he may feel aggrieved, the fact is cooperation is the sine qua non and he must know that the best laid plans will always collapse at the earliest hint of a lack of buy-in by all the stakeholders.
It is therefore our hope that Dr Thabane will see the wisdom in the Biblical call to turn swords into ploughshares or to take a leaf out of the late Nelson Mandela’s book.
Back in 1991, Mandela and his African National Congress party wisely saw that South Africa’s future stability was only possible if they worked with their biggest enemies, the Afrikaner National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party to craft a new constitution as well as in a government of national unity.
This is the same spirit and foresight which should guide Dr Thabane and other stakeholders.