MASERU — Lesotho’s first national decentralisation policy is set to be finalised in January next year when Charles Bakwatsa, a Ugandan consultant engaged in the formulation, submits a draft of the policy to government.
Bakwatsa, speaking on the sidelines of a press conference last week where the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government Mothetjoa Metsing and his Rwandan counterpart James Musoni addressed the media, said a lot has already been achieved since he started in September.
He told the Sunday Express he has completed consultations with the stakeholders such as councillors, chiefs, civil society and villagers.
He is now meeting with the National Assembly and the Senate on the draft policy meant to speed up decentralisation in Lesotho.
“Next month (December) I will be giving feedback to the stakeholders consulted about the decentralisation policy and (by) early January (next year) we’d be having the policy ready,” said Bakwatsa.
For his part, Musoni told the press conference it is imperative for the Lesotho decentralisation policy to reflect the views of the people and their aspirations.
He emphasised the need for the Lesotho government ministries to all be involved in the decentralisation process and to have ownership of the whole process.
Musoni said political will to decentralise is key to the devolution of powers to local authorities.
He advised that the policy should clearly set a demarcation between the central government and local government functions and autonomy of the councils should be clarified in the policy.
Musoni said when completed the
local government policy should be implemented but in phases for Basotho to have an appreciation and understanding of what local government is all about.
He said decentralisation
is essential as it gives the people a voice and brings accountability to the public in a government.
Metsing, speaking about his reasons for taking decentralisation lessons from Rwanda and not Western or Eastern countries, said Africa today needs African solutions for African problems.
Metsing insisted Rwanda’s ability to rise from a failed state status to a rapidly developing country shows there is something worth learning from that country’s leaders after the genocides that rocked the Central African state.
He said Bakwatsa is the same consultant who was working on the Rwandan local government policy and, as a country that shares a lot of similarities with Lesotho apart from being an African state, it was imperative to employ him for the formulation of Lesotho’s decentralisation policy.