DEMOCRATIC Congress leader and former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili has accused the governing parties of seeking to gain an upper hand in the reforms process by seeking to have majority representation in the 15-member National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC).
Among other tasks, the NDPC will consider and agree on the agenda for the multi-sector reforms that Lesotho is expected to implement in line with the 2016 recommendations of the Southern African Development Committee (SADC).
Thirty-four political parties recently signed the National Leaders Forum Declaration on Comprehensive Reforms where they committed to fully participate in processes that will culminate in the implementation of the reforms.
The political leaders also agreed to form the 15-member NDPC with three representatives each from the governing parties, the opposition who have parliamentary representation while those that are not represented in parliament would have two.
It was further agreed that the parties that other stakeholders like the media, non-governmental organisations, youths, women, business, the academia and people with disabilities would each have one representative.
But according to Dr Mosisili, the governing parties prolonged the National Leaders Forum as they sought to make changes that would enable them to have majority representation in the 15-member NDPC.
Addressing DC supporters at a recent party rally in Ha Mamathe in Berea, Dre Mosisili claimed that the government prolonged the recent National Leaders Forum in an attempt to push through their plan to have nine representatives in the NDPC.
The government side requested 15-minute break during the forum but it eventually took several hours before the proceedings resumed. Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Lesego Makgothi said they needed the lengthy break to discuss the impact of the terms of reference of the NDPC as suggested by the SADC facilitation team.
But this was disputed by Dr Mosisili who said the government side took a lengthy break of more than three hours to seek to gain an upper hand in the NDPC.
“The burning issue was that the government wanted to have majority of seats in the committee. They came to the National Leaders Forum with the aim of twisting everything to ensure that nine of the 15 seats were reserved for them. And we said no to that,” Dr Mosisili said.
He added that the government eventually agreed to equal representation with the opposition with Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki saying the government had agreed to this “in the spirit of brotherhood”.
“I looked at Moleleki when he said that in the spirit of brotherhood, they had decided to have equal representation with the opposition despite the fact that they have majority in parliament.
“I said he (Moleleki) has forgotten. There is nothing new (in having equal representation in structures that are created to address national issues). Mokola (Moleleki’s nickname) forgets that LCD won 79 parliamentary (out of the 80) seats in the 1998 elections but each of the parties that contested for elections had two seats in the Interim Political Authority (IPA). The LCD didn’t even chair the IPA yet we had majority parliamentary seats. This issue of being humble and agreeing to equal representation in the spirit of brotherhood doesn’t hold water.”
The IPA was established in the aftermath of the disputed 1998 elections. Its primary function was to create and promote conditions conducive to the holding of free and fair elections and to level the playing field for all political parties and candidates.