Partners to sign new agreement
The three ruling parties — ABC, LCD and BNP — to sign revised agreement on 10 July
The three leaders of Lesotho’s coalition government are expected to sign a revised agreement on 10 July, ending their bitter fallout which nearly brought Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s rule to a premature end early this month.
According to Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane — who is the coordinator of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JMIC) tasked with overseeing the coalition partnership — the draft amendment to the initial agreement on which the government was founded in June 2012, addresses, among others, reasons that could have led to the fallout and mechanisms to be used to sustain the administration going forward.
Addressing a press conference held at the State Library on Friday, Chief ‘Maseribane — who is also the Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation — further said the draft amendment had been tabled before a meeting of the government leaders that morning for analysis and later referred to their respective parties for further scrutiny.
The Sunday Express understands the document, titled Coalition Partners’ Agreement in Resolving Conflict in Governance, was drafted by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, on behalf of the trio.
Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), Mr Metsing’s LCD and Chief ‘Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP) are partners in Lesotho’s first coalition government established when neither of the contesting parties had managed an absolute majority of seats in the 26 May 2012 parliamentary election.
However, in recent weeks, the LCD has publicly attacked Dr Thabane, accusing the premier of making critical decisions such as the recent nine-month prorogation of parliament, the dismissal of the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and appointment of the Government Secretary (GS) without consulting his coalition partners.
“We expect that by 8 July, the draft document should have been assessed by all the relevant parties, for tabling before the coalition leaders and signing on the 10th,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
The final agreement, Chief ‘Maseribane revealed, would also be signed by representatives of the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) as guarantors, because of the crucial role the two bodies played in mediating in the stalemate.
“The GS has already been assigned to invite a representative of the SADC, whom we expect to be here from 8 July, to assess the document and see if it has the capacity to carry the coalition government going forward,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
“The guarantors will sign, as witnesses, so that whoever defies it at some point, remembers who the guarantors were.”
Describing the document without revealing its finer details, Chief ‘Maseribane said it would outline “why the coalition government leaders had a fall-out in the first place”.
“Without going into details, what I can divulge for now is that the document addresses reasons that could have led to the conflict and how to chart the way forward,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
The BNP leader also highlighted the current Commonwealth-funded tour of New Zealand by a delegation of members of parliament, led by Mr Metsing, who is also Leader of the House, as a crucial part of the conflict-resolution.
“The recommendations and advice contained in a report informed by the current tour of New Zealand, should also be incorporated into the draft amendment,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
“The New Zealand tour delegation has until 10 July, to make their contribution, more especially because the Commonwealth has assisted us immensely since learning that we’re experiencing problems.”
On the question of the prorogation of parliament which the LCD has said it was struggling to accept, Chief ‘Maseribane said the three leaders had “launched discussions into the matter”.
“We have touched base regarding concerns over the prorogation of parliament and when it should resume, particularly the fact that Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba, requested that we consider cutting it down,” Chief ‘Maseribane further stated.
“We have discussed the issue but have agreed to give ourselves, and our political parties, time.
“Even the Commonwealth has also touched on the prorogation issue.
“But let’s wait for the outcome of the New Zealand tour before forming an opinion.”