US urges reforms for new govt
THE government of the United States of America has congratulated Lesotho for a peaceful and credible elections, adding it was looking forward to working with the new government of Lesotho in mutually beneficial programmes.
This was contained in a press statement by US government representative, Heather Nauert who also urged Lesotho’s political parties to honour their pledge to implement constitutional and security sector reforms aimed at achieving lasting stability in Lesotho.
Lesotho held snap elections on 3 June in the wake of the 1 March 2017 no confidence vote that was passed by the opposition on the seven parties’ coalition government headed by Pakalitha Mosisili.
The Thomas Thabane-headed All Basotho Convention (ABC) emerged the biggest winner, with 47 constituency seats and one proportional representation (PR) seat, bringing their total to 48. The ABC also won three constituencies in which the candidates died before the elections.
The constituency elections for the legislature candidates will be held after 90 days from the polls.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mosisili’s Democratic Congress obtained 26 constituency seats and four PR seats and outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy obtained one constituency seat and 10 PR seats.
And in the aftermath of the elections, the US issued a congratulatory message and expressed its desire to continue working with the Lesotho government.
“The United States congratulates the people of Lesotho for participating peacefully in national elections on June 3, 2017,” Ms Nauert said, adding, “The United States looks forward to working productively with a new Lesotho government as soon as a coalition is finalised and a new Prime Minister is sworn in”.
“We also commend Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission for leading a well-managed and credible electoral process and all major political parties for accepting the outcome.
“We welcome the robust engagement of international observer missions from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, the Commonwealth and other well-regarded organisations.
“SADC, in particular, has been a strong partner to Lesotho during a difficult period over the past three years. With its observer mission, SADC demonstrated once again that it holds Lesotho’s governing institutions to a high standard and that SADC itself has a valuable role to play in promoting democracy and good governance in the region.”
Ms Nauert reiterated the need for the incoming Lesotho government and other stakeholders to resume the implementation of reforms that had been stalled to make way for the elections.
“Political parties in Lesotho signed a pledge to engage seriously after the election in a process of reform, including of the security sector, the constitution, and the public sector.
We urge those parties – and the new government – to engage seriously in a reform process that is independent, transparent, and inclusive of all key stakeholders. Implementation of these reforms is critically important to Lesotho’s sustained political stability and consolidation of its democratic institutions.”
Lesotho began a reform process in 2016 after recommendations by the Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi-led Southern African Development Community (SADC) Commission of Inquiry.
The SADC Commission was set up after outgoing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asked SADC to probe the fatal shooting of former Lesotho Defence Force commander, Maaparankoe Mahao on 25 June 2015, and it carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015.
The commission recommended among other things, the dismissal of former army commander Tlali Kamoli, the suspension of LDF officers implicated in cases of murder, attempted murder and treason while investigations into the allegations proceeded in line with international best practice.
It also recommended constitutional and security sector reforms to create stability which is seen as crucial to economic development in the country.
Ms Nauert also underscored the US’s commitment to working with Lesotho’s new government and Basotho to advance mutual interests in economic development, trade, health care as well as the strengthening of democratic institutions.
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