Mo­sisili warns de­vel­op­ment­de­vel part­nerspartn

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Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Bongiwe Zih­langu

Prime min­is­ter Pakalitha mo­sisili has urged de­vel­op­ment part­ners not to in­ter­fere in Le­sotho’s in­ter­nal af­fairs.

The Demo­cratic Congress (DC) leader, who came to power as head of a seven-party gov­ern­ment af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions had pro­duced a hung par­lia­ment, says Le­sotho is a sov­er­eign state whose gov­er­nance is en­tirely up to Ba­sotho.

Ad­dress­ing a media brief­ing in Maseru on mon­day, Dr mo­sisili said in­ter­fer­ence by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in Le­sotho’s do­mes­tic af­fairs con­tra­vened the ‘ non-in­ter­fer­ence in each other’s in­ter­nal/do­mes­tic af­fairs’ prin­ci­ple, which he added was “im­por­tant to sus­tain coun­tries’ re­la­tions.

“The per­son each coun­try ap­points to head its mil­i­tary and po­lice is an in­ter­nal mat­ter that does not war­rant ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence,” Dr mo­sisili said.

“The main prin­ci­ple guid­ing coun­tries’ re­la­tions is that they should de­sist from interfering in each other’s in­ter­nal or do­mes­tic af­fairs.”

Dr mo­sisili was re­spond­ing to calls by Le­sotho’s de­vel­op­ment part­ners, par­tic­u­larly the United States of Amer­ica (USA), which was very vo­cal about the re­in­state­ment of Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) Com­man­der Lt Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli. Lt Gen Kamoli was fired last Au­gust fired by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane for al­leged in­sub­or­di­na­tion, re­sult­ing in po­lit­i­cal un­rest and vi­o­lence be­tween the mil­i­tary and po­lice, and a failed coup de tat.

in a press state­ment is­sued on 27 may 2015 by the Amer­i­can em­bassy in Le­sotho, the USA noted it was con­cerned no one was held ac­count­able for the Au­gust 2014 po­lit­i­cal un­rest, and that the Le­sotho gov­ern­ment had re­in­stated Lt Gen Kamoli.

“The gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho has re­in­stated one of the most po­lar­is­ing fig­ures from that dif­fi­cult pe­riod as Com­man­der of the Le­sotho De­fence Force,” the state­ment by Jeff rathke, Di­rec­tor-of­fice of Press Re­la­tions, read. “Other re­cent trou­bling de­vel­op­ments in­clude re­ports of kid­nap­pings and abuse within the LDF, mur­der of a prom­i­nent sup­porter of the ma­jor op­po­si­tion party and fail­ure to pro­vide se­cu­rity for for­mer Pm Tha­bane.”

The USA fur­ther said as Le­sotho’s long­stand­ing friend and part­ner, it was urg­ing gov­ern­ment to take “ro­bust, con­crete steps” to ad­dress these con­cerns and demon­strate com­mit­ment to the rule of law and “to the vi­tal demo­cratic prin­ci­ple of civil­ian con­trol over the mil­i­tary”.

How­ever, Dr mo­sisili was adamant that de­spite ex­ist­ing re­la­tions be­tween Le­sotho and its de­vel­op­ment part­ners, “we are a sov­er­eign state”.

“Our hum­ble yet firm plea is that we be af­forded the re­spect we de­serve as a sov­er­eign state be­cause there is never go­ing to be a day when we will at­tempt to im­pose our opin­ion on de­ci­sions made by coun­tries that we have re­la­tions with,” Dr mo­sisili said.

“We will never at­tempt to tell them who to ap­point for the run­ning of their coun­tries’ mil­i­tary and po­lice.”

Asked if his firm stance against non-in­ter­fer­ence would not put Le­sotho at risk of los­ing ben­e­fits from the USA, such as the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA) and the sec­ond phase of the mil­len­nium Chal­lenge Ac­count (MCA) Com­pact, which is still in its de­vel­op­ment stage, Dr mo­sisilii briskly said AGOA was al­ready in the bag andnd that “Baso-ba­sotho have noth­ing to worry about”.t”.

Le­sotho is a ben­e­fi­ciary of AGOA,GOA, which al-al­lows cer­tain sub-sa­ha­ran African­can na­tions to ex­port a range of goods to Ameri­car­ica duty-free. Amer­i­can law­mak­ers are de­cid­ingng whether to ex­tend the trade agree­ment when­hen it ex­pires in Septem­ber.

On the MCA Com­pact, thee premier at-at­tempted to al­lay fears by stat­ingng that a fort-fort­night ago, the USA had sent a high-high-pow­ered del­e­ga­tion to dis­cuss with govern­mentvern­ment “the sec­ond phase of the com­pact”.

“The AGOA agree­ment is goin­go­ing to be re­newed so there’s not a needed for peo­ple to worry. On the ques-stion of the MCA, we are in the process of ask­ing the USA for a sec­ond com­pact,” mo­sisili said.

“They have al­ready sent a high-pow­ered mis­sion to Le­sotho and we are work­ing well to­gether, there’s no need for Ba­sotho to fear.”

How­ever, de­spite the Pm’s sting­ing warn­ing, if Le­sotho does not con­vince its de­vel­op­ment part­ners es­pe­cially the USA oth­er­wise, par­tic­u­larly with re­gard to the al­leged abuse and gross-vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights by the mil­i­tary, labour groups say Le­sotho is at risk of los­ing 35,000 jobs in the textile in­dus­try if the Amer­i­cas drop the na­tion from its pref­er­en­tial trade ac­cord be­cause of wors­en­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sion in the coun­try.

This, ac­cord­ing to the labour groups, is pos- sible be­cause Swaziland has al­ready suf­fered a sim­i­lar fate, hav­ing been dropped from AGOA due to the in­ces­sant gross-vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights by the gov­ern­ment.

el­i­gi­bil­ity for AGOA in­cludes re­spect for the rule of law, ef­forts to com­bat cor­rup­tion and pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights. Swaziland was re­moved as a ben­e­fi­ciary of AGOA in June last year, re­sult­ing in the loss of thou­sands of jobs and wors­en­ing poverty in the ab­so­lute monar­chy.

Prime min­is­ter Pakalitha mo­sisili

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