LESOTHO’S political gladiators would do well to hearken to King Letsie III’s seminal words, as the country trudges through a difficult political time.
In His Majesty’s Speech from the Throne in the National Assembly last month, the King called for the speedy implementation of all the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recommendations and the depoliticisation of security institutions to ensure stability in the country.
His Majesty said: “I would like to see my government working on this country’s issues with independence and great enthusiasm,”
“Where we can on our own without needing international and SADC intervention, we should do so, starting with the very challenges that we are currently facing.”
Most peace-loving Basotho had hoped that the political gladiators were heeding this call since it encapsulates the building blocks of Lesotho’s political and economic advancement.
However, as things stand, we may soon be calling on SADC to assist us again if recent developments are anything to go by. As reported elsewhere in this edition, former deputy premier, Mothetjoa Metsing has fled the country claiming that his safety was endangered.
The veracity of Mr Metsing’s claims can be debated ad infinitum, but what matters the most is for all stakeholders to be there when the reforms commence.
The country needs everyone to work together for a better future for all. After all, it has been proven the world over that national consensus and cohesion are the primary instruments for economic and social prosperity.
A national dialogue is a good opportunity for building a new political culture and value system for our country.
Political differences have been driven a wedge among Basotho for the bulk of the period since independence in 1966, and are epitomised by the Congress-Nationalist divide. While there are many other origins for the divisions, politics have been the cause of so much strife and instability in this nation. Offshoots of this division are evident in the senseless famo turf wars and other acts of violence that continue unabated at great cost of lives, limb and property.
Government and Basotho should see this problem for what it is; a national crisis. Pretending there is no problem only incenses victims of these senseless attacks.
Ultimately, that is how we all lose out regardless of our political persuasions. Basotho grappling with the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and those who cannot access basic services such as healthcare and water are unlikely to be concerned with the technicalities the well-heeled in Maseru put up to justify the political logjam.
Service delivery is their hope and expectation when they cast their ballot during elections. Our elected representatives owe it to such people to work towards resolving the political impasse.
It may be the tonic needed to cure the chronic ills of our political system. Over the years, subsequent governments and opposition parties have lost sight of the bigger picture, which is the national interest, and used foul means to get one over their competitors.