PM slams op­po­si­tion at sum­mit

‘The new chal­lenges we are con­fronted with all point to a re­fusal of cer­tain sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion, par­tic­u­larly mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion, to ac­cept the out­come of the Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions,’ says Dr Mo­sisili.

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

Prime min­is­ter Pakalitha mo­sisili has as­sured the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) his govern­ment is com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing re­forms and spare the re­gional body the “trou­ble of dous­ing the flames in the Moun­tain King­dom”.

Dr mo­sisili was ad­dress­ing the 35th Sum­mit of the SADC Dou­ble Troika on monday this week in Gaborone, Botswana where heads of mem­ber-states and gov­ern­ments had met to dis­cuss, among oth­ers, the re­gion’s eco­nomic blue­print and also change the lead­er­ship of the re­gional bloc.

Also on the Sum­mit’s agenda was Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity crises, which saw three op­po­si­tion lead­ers flee­ing the coun­try in May this year fear­ing for their lives. The cri­sis also re­sulted in the fa­tal shoot­ing of former Le­sotho De­fence Force ( LDF) com­man­der maa­parankoe ma­hao on 25 June 2015—al­legedly as he re­sisted ar­rest by fel­low sol­diers for be­ing the ring-leader of a foiled mutiny.

The premier, who was ad­dress­ing his fel­low lead­ers for the first time since re­turn­ing to power in march this year, said Le­sotho was de­ter­mined to en­sure it be­comes sta­ble na­tion once again.

Dr mo­sisili told the sum­mit: “Once more, i have been demo­crat­i­cally elected prime min­is­ter of Le­sotho af­ter serv­ing more than two years as a mem­ber of the op­po­si­tion in our Na­tional As­sem­bly. Be­fore that, as you no doubt re­call, i had the hon­our to serve for some years in the same ca­pac­ity of prime min­is­ter of my coun­try (1998 to 2012).

“i am hum­bled by the heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity and the trust which the peo­ple of Le­sotho have re­posed in me to lead them again through these tur­bu­lent times, to peace, sta­bil­ity and so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“This time, i have been fur­ther heart­ened by the trust of six of Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal par­ties (Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy, Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy, mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party, Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress, Ba­sotho Congress Party and Na­tional in­de­pen­dent Party) which have formed a coali­tion govern­ment with the party i lead (Demo­cratic Congress).”

Dr mo­sisili then re­minded the SADC lead­er­ship of how Le­sotho found it­self on the re­gional body’s agenda “for the wrong rea­sons”.

“We may re­call that Le­sotho has been on the agenda of SADC for too long and for the wrong rea­sons. Our coali­tion govern­ment is, there­fore, com­mit­ted to a re­form process that will af­fect var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions, and hope­fully en­sure that SADC is spared the trou­ble of dous­ing the flames in the Moun­tain King­dom,” the premier said.

He ap­pealed to SADC states “to re­main seized with this re­form pro­gramme and ex­tend the req­ui­site sup­port where nec­es­sary. i, and the in­com­ing govern­ment of Le­sotho, am hum­bled by the chal­leng­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity en­trusted to us to en­sure our peo­ple achieve their le­git­i­mate as­pi­ra­tions for sus­tain­able eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, as well as po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and good gov­er­nance. I have no doubt that we can count on your sup­port as we have in the past.”

Dr mo­sisili said he could not con­clude his ad­dress with­out pay­ing a de­serv­ing trib­ute to the coun­tries of the sub-re­gion “for stand­ing with Le­sotho through a dif­fi­cult time and for mak­ing sac­ri­fices in or­der to help us con­duct free and fair elec­tions at the be­gin­ning of this year. It is a mat­ter of grave con­cern to me per­son­ally and my part­ners in the coali­tion govern­ment that the tran­quil­ity we all yearn for has once more eluded us, even af­ter the peace­ful elec­tions en­gi­neered by SADC.”

The premier, how­ever, in­di­cated that the “new chal­lenges” fac­ing Le­sotho were due to cer­tain groups of Ba­sotho, “par­tic­u­larly mem- bers of the op­po­si­tion”, who re­fused to ac­cept the out­come of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions.

“The new chal­lenges we are con­fronted with all point to a re­fusal of cer­tain sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion, par­tic­u­larly mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion, to ac­cept the out­come of the Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions. Clearly, there is a cry­ing need for pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion to en­sure that there is gen­eral ac­cep­tance that the elec­torates are al­ways right; even when they are wrong, they are al­ways right, that “Sechaba ke poho”- the peo­ple are sov­er­eign.

“Once again, our re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tion has risen to the chal­lenge and as we meet here, a SADC mis­sion in the form of a Com­mis­sion of in­quiry is in Le­sotho to as­sist my coun­try over­come the new chal­lenges. Our hope and prayer is that all Ba­sotho will em­brace the out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions and en­sure we all bury our petty po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences for the good of Le­sotho and Ba­sotho.

“We ac­knowl­edge, with a pro­found sense of grat­i­tude the ac­co­lades that the four of us, His ex­cel­lency Dr Hage Gein­gob, Pres­i­dent of the repub­lic of Namibia, His ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent edgar Lungu of the repub­lic of Zam­bia and His ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent Filipe Jac­into Nyusi of the repub­lic of mozam­bique, have re­ceived from you, the lead­ers of our re­gional body.

“in con­clu­sion, i want to re­it­er­ate the un­re­served com­mit­ment of the new govern­ment of Le­sotho to the ideals and prin­ci­ples of SADC and to work closely with all mem­ber-states of our re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tion in pur­suit of the noble goals of unity, sol­i­dar­ity, and co­op­er­a­tion among our peo­ples.

“i fur­ther com­mit the coali­tion govern­ment which i lead, to ac­cept the roadmap that SADC will chart with us af­ter the Com­mis­sion concludes its in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Le­sotho, un­der my lead­er­ship, will con­tinue to up­hold the rule of law, re­spect our in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions and spare no ef­fort to em­brace those who hold dif­fer­ent be­liefs in our na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal space.”

mean­while, due to the pre­vail­ing in­sta­bil­ity in the coun­try, Le­sotho was over­looked for the sec­ond year run­ning, for the lead­er­ship of the SADC Or­gan for Pol­i­tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity. The one-year chair­man­ship was passed to Mozam­bique in­stead. Last year, the re­gional bloc de­cided to pass the lead­er­ship to South Africa when Le­sotho was sup­posed to as­sume it.

The snub came in Au­gust at the height of the coun­try’s in­sta­bil­ity as the then coali­tion govern­ment led by Thomas Tha­bane was headed for col­lapse due to in­fight­ing.

I am hum­bled by the heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity and the trust which the peo­ple of Le­sotho have re­posed in me to lead them again through these tur­bu­lent times, to peace, sta­bil­ity and so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment

New SADC chair­per­son Ian Khama is con­grat­u­lated by Dr Mo­sisili dur­ing the SADC sum­mit in Gaborone.

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