Re­straint and com­pro­mise key

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

DE­SPITE spir­ited as­sis­tance from the SADC re­gion, Le­sotho seems to teeter from one cri­sis af­ter the other. The po­lit­i­cal log­jam which has seen three op­po­si­tion lead­ers flee­ing the coun­try is fi­nally com­ing to a head and the re­gional bloc will not be able to do much about it.

Else­where in this edi­tion, home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Lekhetho Rakuoane has made an im­pas­sioned plea for op­po­si­tion Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) to end their boy­cott of the leg­is­la­ture, warn­ing that it would plunge the al­ready volatile Moun­tain King­dom into an­other cri­sis.

This was af­ter op­po­si­tion MPS had vowed not to par­lia­ment when it re­con­venes later this month un­less their lead­ers are back from ex­ile and army com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli is no longer in of­fice.

Their three lead­ers, former prime min­is­ter and All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader Thomas Tha­bane, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho leader Keketso Ran­tšo have been liv­ing in South Africa since flee­ing the coun­try ear­lier this year claim­ing mem­bers of the mil­i­tary were out to assassinate them.

For a while, it seemed that Dr Tha­bane and Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili were se­cretly work­ing out a deal that would en­sure the former pre­mier and other op­po­si­tion of­fi­cials would re­turn safely. How­ever, from the look of things, the rap­proche­ment seems to be dead in the wa­ter. This is more so ap­par­ent con­sid­er­ing that both sides are dig­ging in and tak­ing more hard­line stances.

The con­tend­ing sides have set terms for each other that would be dif­fi­cult to ac­qui­esce to with­out los­ing face. The op­po­si­tion bloc has made Lt Gen Kamoli’s ouster a pre­con­di­tion for their re­turn to par­lia­ment, while the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to de­tain the 23 LDF mem­bers sus­pected of mutiny de­spite the High Court or­der­ing their re­lease.

un­for­tu­nately, the quag­mire of a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis we are lurch­ing to­wards will be in­tractable even for the ever de­pend­able SADC. If the op­po­si­tion MPS con­tinue to boy­cott par­lia­ment and Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Ntl­hoi Mot­samai is com­pelled to call for by­elec­tions, it would be a cri­sis of epic pro­por­tions. Not only would an­other round of elec­tions be a waste of acutely lim­ited resources, the risk of po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence and in­sta­bil­ity would also in­crease.

Mean­while, the tag of in­sta­bil­ity would con­tinue to dog this na­tion, scar­ing away po­ten­tial in­vestors and stymy­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Le­sotho is al­ready lag­ging be­hind other coun­trie in terms of many de­vel­op­ment in­di­ca­tors.

As Dr Mo­sisili’s Po­lit­i­cal Ad­vi­sor Dr Fako Likoti rightly noted, it would be a lose-lose for all par­ties in­volved. Af­ter all, the elec­torate was un­equiv­o­cal in their ex­pec­ta­tions of their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives dur­ing the cam­paign pe­riod and the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions.

They want jobs, de­vel­op­ment and ser­vice de­liv­ery. An­other bout of dis­puted elec­tions is un­likely to achieve that re­sult. how­ever, while the op­po­si­tion de­serves some flak for not ac­tively find­ing a so­lu­tion to this tick­ing time bomb, gov­ern­ment is also at fault for not meet­ing the other party half­way.

Their re­cal­ci­trant ap­proach is un­likely to elicit a favourable re­sult from their po­lit­i­cal foes. What Le­sotho needs is lead­ers from across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide who choose to put the na­tion’s in­ter­ests first. It is ap­par­ent there are no an­gels from both the gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion sides, but that should not stop gen­uine reen­gage­ment for the sake of our im­pov­er­ished na­tion.

As a na­tion, we have no choice but to work on strength­en­ing our democ­racy. The process is cer­tainly not a sprint, but a full-fledged marathon. They will be pit­falls and draw­backs, but none that can jus­tify re­turn­ing to the era of au­toc­racy. Af­ter all is said and done, only through re­straint, en­gage­ment and com­pro­mise will our seem­ingly for­mi­da­ble prob­lems be re­solved.

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