Keep­ing Le­sotho’s sta­bil­ity para­mount

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

AHEAD of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions, the prom­ise of sta­bil­ity was one of the main sell­ing points for politi­cians vy­ing to lead the coun­try. It was, and still is, an im­por­tant com­po­nent in in­form­ing the elec­torate’s de­ci­sion on who to vote for.

Ba­sotho are af­ter all in­her­ently a peace-lov­ing peo­ple who aspire for a sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment in which they can tackle more per­ti­nent chal­lenges such as poverty and the HIV/AIDS pan­demic.

While the se­cu­rity chal­lenges Le­sotho ex­pe­ri­enced in the pre­ced­ing years can­not be com­pared to the on­slaught by Boko Haram in Nige­ria or the Anti-bal­aka mili­tias in the Cen­tral African Repub­lic (CAR), they have been ma­jor enough to war­rant the in­ter­ven­tion of South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC).

Le­sotho earned it­self the ig­no­ble tag of the re­gion’s prob­lem child and re­sul­tantly for­feited the highly an­tic­i­pated SADC Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion chair­man­ship last Au­gust.

It also re­sulted in the re­gional bloc dic­tat­ing the operandi of gov­ern­ment in prepa­ra­tion for the snap Na­tional As­sem­bly polls.

And be­fore hand­ing over the reins back to the coali­tion gov­ern­ment af­ter the elec­tions in March, Sadc was un­equiv­o­cal in its ex­pec­ta­tions; last­ing po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, where the mil­i­tary keeps its place in the bar­racks, the op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment and not on the streets and the gov­ern­ment in power abid­ing by the tenets of the con­sti­tu­tion and the laws of the land.

How­ever, as re­cent un­savoury events have shown, the eerie spec­tre of in­sta­bil­ity con­tin­ues to rear its ugly head de­spite Le­sotho sup­pos­edly chart­ing a new course.

Lest the seven party coali­tion gov­ern­ment for­gets, en­sur­ing sta­bil­ity is para­mount since the loss thereof usu­ally re­sults in a slip­pery slope.

The chaos cur­rently en­gulf­ing the po­lice in which the top cop po­si­tion is in con­tention, along with a plethora of trans­fers and fir­ings, does not au­gur well for fos­ter­ing a cli­mate of sta­bil­ity.

While it is the pre­rog­a­tive of the pow­ers that be in the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) to hire and fire as they please, they can be no deny­ing the po­lit­i­cal un­der­tones of the melee.

This state of af­fairs be­comes all the more dis­con­cert­ing con­sid­er­ing the LMPS are yet to make head­way (at the time of go­ing to press) in ap­pre­hend­ing those re­spon­si­ble for the mur­der of busi­ness­man Thabiso Tšosane who was shot dead by an un­known as­sailant ear­lier this month and the break in at the house of Min­istry of Po­lice Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Re­filoe Matekane.

Mr Matekane, who was pre­vi­ously un­der around-the­clock LMPS pro­tec­tion last week told the Le­sotho Times he would hire pri­vate se­cu­rity.

Th­ese at­tacks and the con­tin­ued detention of a Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) Lance Cor­po­ral de­spite the High Court order­ing his re­lease cre­ate need­less ap­pre­hen­sion in the cit­i­zenry.

The op­po­si­tion has al­ready adopted a siege men­tal­ity fol­low­ing the at­tacks with some ill-ad­vised leg­is­la­tors threat­en­ing to re­venge Mr Tšosane’s killing.

Such ut­ter­ances can only be con­demned by all pro­gres­sive Ba­sotho since there is noth­ing to be gained in cit­i­zens tak­ing the law into their own hands.

We call for re­straint and lev­el­head­ed­ness from all stake­hold­ers in­volved to en­sure peace and tran­quil­ity reign in this our beloved King­dom.

Ul­ti­mately, it be­hooves the gov­ern­ment to re­as­sure all Ba­sotho, re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sion, that there is no purge against mem­bers of the erst­while gov­ern­ment.

Be­cause of the in­sta­bil­ity of the past years, Le­sotho has stag­nated, and in some cases re­gressed, in its travel and tourism global rank­ings as well as its per­for­mance on the Do­ing Busi­ness in­dex as re­vealed by a re­cent World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF) re­port.

Le­sotho owes it to the good­will shown by SADC and the rest of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to stay the course on the path of po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

Khotso, Pula, Nala!

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