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Govt urged to make reforms inclusive


parliament’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE government has been urged to take an inclusive approach to implementing governance reforms to ensure they are accepted by all sections of society.

This was said by All Basotho Convention (ABC) Member of Parliament (MP) Letšego Makgothi on Friday during a High-Level Roundtable session on governance reforms organised by the government and the United Nations (UN) at a Maseru hotel.

The session was part of discussions between the government academics, civil society, members of the opposition and other stakeholders on the development agenda and held under the theme “Transformation and Reform: The Path to Lesotho’s Sustainable Development”.

In his brief submission during the session, Mr Makgothi called on the government to quickly put in place an inclusive framework to institute reforms and find solutions to the country’s governance challenges.

“I speak as an opposition MP and politician with a responsibility to ensure the government is accountable to the nation for the policies it promised. I also speak as a Mosotho who cares for the welfare of our nation and the bright future we must leave for our children.”

He said the government should include all stakeholders in implementing the recommendations of the Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi-led Commission of Inquiry into Lesotho’s instability.

The inquiry was launched by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) following the killing of former Lesotho Defence Force commander Maaparankoe Mahao by his army colleagues on 25 June last year. After the SADC inquiry held from 31 August to 23 October 2015, the commissioners made a set of recommendations to the Lesotho government they hoped would bring the feuding parties together if implemented.

Among the recommendations was the removal of army commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, criminal investigations into the death of Lt-Gen Mahao which should lead to prosecution as well as constitutional and security sector reforms.

SADC also approved the dispatching of an Oversight Committee to serve as an early warning mechanism and provide assistance in the implementation of constitutional, security and public sector reforms in Lesotho.

“I endorse the call made by SADC that Lesotho’s reforms must be comprehensively inclusive and also welcome SADC’s involvement to oversee and support the process,” he said.

“I am encouraged to learn that this is also the view held strongly by the international community and in particular the UN. I wish to remind government that in a democracy, it governs with the consent of the governed and that reforms will fail unless it genuinely carries everybody along including all members of the opposition, civil society and the international community.

“I welcome indications from the government that there might be openness on its side to consider opening up the reform process to the rest of society.”

During the session, Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations Executive Director Seabata Motsamai tackled the question: “What are the urgent reforms that are needed in Lesotho and why?”

He said the best starting point to reach consensus for the reform process was for the government to call for a national dialogue.

“There is an urgent need to call for a national dialogue that will help all stakeholders engage wholeheartedly on issues that affect the country and help Basotho get their priorities right and heal,” said Mr Motsamai.



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