Who should de­ter­mine our fu­ture?

Lesotho Times - - Leader - So­fonea Shale

Though the Marx­ists’ con­vic­tion that state is the high­est form of or­gan­i­sa­tion of peo­ple’s power is still held by rulers in Africa, it is hardly pos­si­ble to see Marx­ism in the be­liefs and de­ci­sions African lead­ers of to­day hold and make. The re­cent con­tes­ta­tions by Le­sotho politi­cians both in and out­side gov­ern­ment about the scope of SADC in­ves­ti­ga­tions, to the to­tal ne­glect of peo­ple can only ex­plain part of the rea­son why the ques­tion; should Le­sotho’s fu­ture be de­ter­mined by politi­cians or peo­ple needs to be en­gaged.

The state au­thor­ity is placed on the three state or­gans namely leg­is­la­ture which rep­re­sents peo­ple, ex­ec­u­tive which is a func­tionary of the peo­ple and the ju­di­ciary that main­tains bal­ance be­tween what is right and what the ex­ec­u­tive does.

It is a lit­tle over a year that SADC has been seized with Le­sotho sit­u­a­tion. First it was re­tired Pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Namibia, who came here both di­rectly and through del­e­ga­tion to rep­re­sent SADC in the ef­fort to help Le­sotho politi­cians deal with their chal­lenges in lead­ing the coun­try. Pres­i­dent hep­ike­funye Po­hwamba han­dled the mat­ter with three lead­ers of the coali­tion then and fa­cil­i­tated some talks that led to res­o­lu­tions which did not help.

on the one hand Rt hon Thomas Tha­bane did not ad­vice his Majesty to shorten length of pro­ro­ga­tion while on the other hon Deputy Prime Min­is­ter did not re­nounce LCD-DC coali­tion un­til on the eve of the ex­piry of the agreed two weeks. Clearly ob­serv­able was that, though politi­cians un­der the guid­ance of a politi­cian from another coun­try rushed to agree­ments, the real is­sues of dis­con­tent were not ad­dressed. Nor­mally, in­ad­e­quately dis­cussed con­flict leads to rushed and half­baked de­ci­sions that par­ties are not com­mit­ted to. Shortly there­after SADC met in Vic­to­ria Falls in Zim­babwe where politi­cians from the re­gion sat and dis­cussed Le­sotho.

When Pres­i­dent Po­hwamba was here, civil so­ci­ety had tried in vain to ad­vice on how SADC can best deal with the prob­lem and one of the pro­pos­als was the car­di­nal fea­ture of me­di­a­tion that the SADC po­lit­i­cal clout and au­thor­ity should be com­pli­mented with lo­cal knowl­edge.

on their own in­tu­ition and fore­cast­ing, civil so­ci­ety an­tic­i­pated that SADC in Vic Falls would de­cide that Le­sotho needs as­sis­tance and ad­vised the re­gional body to deal with the fall­out be­tween the Prime Min­is­ter and the Deputy and also help the coun­try deal with the in­ad­e­qua­cies of the le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional ar­chi­tec­ture that fall short to ac­com­mo­date full po­ten­tial­i­ties of MMP and in­tri­ca­cies of coali­tion pol­i­tics.

Fur­ther civil so­ci­ety ad­vised that SADC process should recog­nise the on-go­ing process such as Com­mon­wealth, UNDP and the Track II diplo­macy by civil so­ci­ety and the church. As though it has not been ad­vised SADC com­mis­sioned a fa­cil­i­ta­tor whose terms of ref­er­ence de­ter­mined with Le­sotho politi­cians took the coun­try to elec­tions.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween SADC and other agen­cies which were help­ing Le­sotho was con­spic­u­ously ab­sent.

Though civil so­ci­ety com­mu­ni­cated with no un­cer­tain terms with the SADC fa­cil­i­ta­tor that the coun­try does not need elec­tions and that elec­tions would sim­ply bring another coali­tion which may not be spared from the chal­lenges of the first, he could not change terms of his prin­ci­pals who acted as in­formed by politi­cians in gov­ern­ment and those in op­po­si­tion acted in con­cert.

In fact each of the politi­cians saw the same fix­ing or get­ting rid of one un­aware that prob­lems are deeper than per­sons and per­son­al­i­ties and that it was more of in­ter­ests which in­formed cer­tain hard­ened po­si­tions than un­known cause. Three months af­ter the peace­ful elec­tions, the role that was about peo­ple of this coun­try, SADC is back not for what vot­ers have done or not done but politi­cians again.

When SADC met on Le­sotho in Pre­to­ria in the pres­ence of the Rt. hon Prime Min­is­ter it de­scribed Le­sotho sit­u­a­tion as one in which po­lit­i­cal-se­cu­rity de­te­ri­o­ra­tion has led to flee­ing of op­po­si­tion lead­ers fear­ing for their lives and com­pounded by tragic death of the for­mer com­man­der of Le­sotho De­fence Force.

For those who may have op­por­tu­nity to look at the SADC Dou­ble Troika Ex­tra­or­di­nary Sum­mit Com­mu­niqué of the 3rd July 2015, they can re­fer to Sec­tion 4 on page 1 of the same. on the ba­sis of this de­scrip­tion, the re­gional body de­cided on a num­ber of is­sues shap­ing its in­ter­ven­tion in Le­sotho. Cur­rently, politi­cians in and out­side gov­ern­ment are at log­ger­heads over what the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry should look at.

When SADC meets in Botswana in two weeks it shall de­cide on terms of ref­er­ence for the com­mis­sion on Le­sotho. how dif­fer­ent would the gaborone out­come be from the Vic­to­ria Falls? SADC Sum­mit is but lead­ers who in all fair­ness have rel­a­tively sim­i­lar chal­lenges in their coun­tries. Should Ba­sotho put their hope on the politi­cians of other coun­tries or should they stand up and de­fine the fu­ture of their coun­try? How can SADC be of ben­e­fit to Ba­sotho?

Do politi­cians know when they have failed or they can just go on and on and com­pli­cate mat­ters fur­ther? Is it not time for politi­cians to be silent for a mo­ment and lis­ten to what peo­ple say and want? The think­ing in this coun­try has been so pol­luted by politi­cians that soon peo­ple will be­lieve that she or he who does right is de­viant and wrong and one who errs is one who is to be ap­plauded.

Is this right? It would seem that what politi­cians in this coun­try want and may want SADC to help them achieve is not peace but fix­ing one another. On the one hand gov­ern­ment over­bur­dens the com­mis­sion with purely ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ters while on the other op­po­si­tion is also rais­ing is­sues which sim­ply seeks to up­set de­ci­sions of the gov­ern­ment.

But when will Ba­sotho speak be­yond par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal di­vide and call politi­cians to or­der? May be civil so­ci­ety through var­i­ous for­ma­tions should speak aloud; re­claim the process of defin­ing the fu­ture of their coun­try from politi­cians who are busy fix­ing one another. At times politi­cians for­get that they are ser­vants of the peo­ple and do so be­cause of the man­ner in which peo­ple have ne­glected their role to di­rect politi­cians.

Should peo­ple sup­port politi­cians even when they take their coun­try to the wrong di­rec­tion sim­ply be­cause they lead po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions which may not even ex­ist with­out them? What do Ba­sotho say about peace of their King­dom? Will SADC in­ter­ven­tion help Ba­sotho get peace? If No, what can be done to en­sure that SADC de­liv­ers pos­i­tive peace? What about the re­forms? Can the Peo­ple Speak and politi­cians lis­ten?

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