Thabane hails progress towards peace and stability
PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane says Lesotho has made huge progress towards achieving peace and stability in the one year that he has been at the helm.
Dr Thabane said this in a recent address at the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in New York, United States of America.
In the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 national elections, Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party formed a coalition government with the Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).
The four-party coalition which replaced the seven parties’ regime that was led by Democratic Congress leader Pakalitha Mosisili won the lections on the back of promises to achieve peace and stability after the instability that was characterised by human rights abuses particularly by senior elements in the military from 2014 to 2017.
Not long afterwards, the government had to deal with fresh instability after the 5 September 2017 assassination of army commander Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo allegedly by his subordinates, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.
Eyewitnesses say Col Hashatsi and Brig Sechele had muscled their way into Lt-Gen Motšomotšo’s office and demanded to see him. It is said that the duo felt betrayed by the army commander who had planned to hand them over for trial over their involvement in the instability and human rights abuses that rocked the country from 2014.
The situation stabilised with deployment of Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops in December 2017.
Speaking on these developments in New York, Dr Thabane said Lesotho had made significant progress in its quest to achieve lasting peace and stability following the recent bouts of instability.
“I addressed this assembly during the 72nd session (last year) with a heavy heart,” Dr Thabane said, adding, “There was a dark cloud of instability and insecurity hoovering over my country”.
“But today I stand before you to attest the difference the UN can make in people’s lives. With the help of the UN, SADC, the African Union and other development partners, we are on the path towards changing the trajectory of the vicious cycle of instability and volatile insecurity in Lesotho.
“The Kingdom of Lesotho has embarked on a comprehensive national reforms agenda. Our shared commitment as a nation to transform the Mountain Kingdom into a just, prosperous and stable country, marked by effective and people-focused institutions, national unity of purpose, rule of law, good governance and human rights shall certainly be attained.
“Our resolve to build a safe, stable and secure country is propelled by the fact that peace and security are preconditions to development. We are determined to take charge of our socioeconomic transformation in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 as well as the UN Agenda 2030, premised upon the principle of inclusivity and leaving no one behind.”
Dr Thabane said while it was necessary to secure international financial help, it was also up to individual countries to mobilise domestic resources to successfully achieve national development goals.
“While we acknowledge that official development assistance remains a catalyst for development, we also advocate for robust domestic resource mobilisation. We are determined to combat illicit financial flows, strengthen tax administration and harness remittances.
“In line with our national priorities, we are taking substantive steps towards providing the appropriate space for private sector investment and entrepreneurship as a complement to public investments.”
Dr Thabane said women and other marginalised groups should be freed and empowered to achieve all-inclusive development.
“Peace and prosperity cannot be achieved when women and girls are marginalised and not given the opportunity to contribute to development. The protection of human rights is a noble objective of the international community that must not be politicised or subjected to double standards in accordance with the whims and caprices of a few powerful individuals,” Dr Thabane said.