Who should determine our future?
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?