Fall­out with sadc le­sotho’s un­do­ing

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

THIS week was quite event­ful, even by Le­sotho’s stan­dards. In re­cent years, the Moun­tain King­dom has been hog­ging the lime­light for all the wrong rea­sons at suc­ces­sive South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) sum­mits yet few re­gional meet­ings can be com­pared to the ex­tra­or­di­nary Sum­mit of SADC’S Dou­ble Troika in Gaborone, Botswana.

As re­ported else­where in this edi­tion, the govern­ment had to climb down on its in­sis­tence that it would only re­ceive the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry’s re­port into Le­sotho’s in­sta­bil­ity un­til the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of Lieu­tenant-colonel Tefo hashatsi’s court chal­lenge of the probe’s le­gal­ity.

how­ever, af­ter SADC is­sued an un­prece­dented threat of sus­pen­sion from the bloc, the govern­ment of Le­sotho made a volte-face and agreed to re­ceive the doc­u­ment. As if the roller coaster was not chill­ing enough, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili re­mained de­fi­ant dur­ing a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, say­ing the govern­ment would pick and choose the rec­om­men­da­tions they deemed ap­pro­pri­ate to im­ple­ment in the re­port.

Given the premier’s ap­par­ent dis­dain for the re­port, a vis­i­tor to Le­sotho with­out any prior knowl­edge of the coun­try’s pol­i­tics, would be shocked to dis­cover that Dr Mo­sisili him­self made the pro­posal for a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry dur­ing a SADC ex­tra­or­di­nary Sum­mit of the Dou­ble Troika which was con­vened last July in Pre­to­ria fol­low­ing the killing of for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

Scep­tics have ac­cused the premier of propos­ing the set­ting up of a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry as a way of buy­ing time given the raw emo­tions around the coun­try fol­low­ing the slay­ing of Lt-gen Ma­hao. When the anger sub­sided, Dr Mo­sisili’s op­po­nents say, his govern­ment be­gan to frus­trate the in­quiry’s op­er­a­tions since its use­ful­ness had ended. Whether th­ese al­le­ga­tions have ba­sis or not, it is un­for­tu­nate that Le­sotho is once again on its way to squan­der­ing an op­por­tu­nity to get its house in or­der.

Un­der­stand­ably, SADC has be­come ex­as­per­ated with hav­ing to send media­tors and pour­ing re­sources, which could be used for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, in ini­tia­tives to end this na­tion’s peren­nial in­sta­bil­ity.

To set up the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry, SADC mem­ber states had to fork out mil­lions of mal­oti, only for the re­port to be trashed and re­jected by its sup­posed ben­e­fi­cia­ries. SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho, Cyril Ramaphosa, has ex­pended many hours of his valu­able time in a seem­ingly ill-fated bid to re­solve Le­sotho’s political chal­lenges.

how­ever, as the re­gional bloc now seems to have washed its hands of this na­tion’s prob­lems, there re­main se­ri­ous chal­lenges that will con­tinue to stymie this na­tion’s so­cial and eco­nomic ad­vances. No pro­gres­sive Mosotho can deny that Le­sotho is be­set by peren­nial crises which stem from se­cu­rity chal­lenges. It is no co­in­ci­dence that Le­sotho has ex­pe­ri­enced more mil­i­tary coups than the other SADC states since in­de­pen­dence in 1966.

Given its unique struc­ture, the coali­tion govern­ment has a unique op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress some of the fis­sures in this na­tion’s body politic for the ben­e­fit of pos­ter­ity. In­stead of pre­tend­ing that they don’t ex­ist, the in­tro­spec­tion af­forded this na­tion by the Phumaphi re­port can help to iden­tify and iron out some of the struc­tural faults in our na­tion.

We can only hope that Dr Mo­sisili was sin­cere in his pledge yes­ter­day to do all in his power to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions made in the re­port. This would en­tail en­gag­ing stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the op­po­si­tion and civil so­ci­ety, in map­ping a way for­ward for Le­sotho. Sin­cer­ity, in all the stake­hold­ers in­volved, would be paramount if any progress is to be made.

Di­a­logue is the only so­lu­tion to the log­jam in our beloved Moun­tain King­dom. Our lead­ers need to re­alise that this in­sta­bil­ity re­sults in a lose-lose sce­nario for all in­volved. The longer this hor­rid soap opera plays out, Le­sotho’s stand­ing among the com­mu­nity of na­tions con­tin­ues to go down the drain. With it are the for­tunes of our al­ready im­pov­er­ished econ­omy which is al­ready feel­ing the strain of the in­sta­bil­ity.

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