Modderpoort – A ray of hope
IN Isaiah 1:18-20, it is said: “Come now let us reason together,” Says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Further, in Matthew 5:23-26, it is said: “Therefore, if you are offering you gift at the altar and there remember your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to that person, then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.
Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to THE OFFICER, AND YOU MAY BE THROWN into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
These seminal impeccable words truly encapsulate the vital assignment that faces our leaders across the political spectrum from both the government and the opposition in the midst of the ground-breaking talks held in the sleepy Free State town of Modderpoort not known perhaps for its silos and agricultural achievements.
On Wednesday, 2 March, 2016, the attention of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Lesotho was focused on this backwater town and in the coming weeks it will move to yet another unimportant South African town, Ficksburg, in the Eastern Free State, as the tripartite opposition composed of All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP), and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) on the one side, negotiate with the seven party Lesotho government, on the other, with a view to find a lasting sustainable and universally acceptable solution to Lesotho’s myriad of problems that have bedeviled our tiny impoverished mountain kingdom for the past fifty (50). Yes I say fifty (50), years of independence.
The above words from the Holy Scripture are therefore instructive on our leaders to make hay while the sun still shines, so to speak.
The fact that at least they are at last, talking is indeed encouraging not only to Basotho but also SADC because this is hopefully with goodwill from both sides, the beginning of greater sustainable political and security situation for Lesotho.
The importance of this exercise cannot therefore be underestimated and our leaders are urged to grab this opportunity with both hands.
To any peace-loving Mosotho and the rest of the world to witness those pictures, ( Lesotho Times, March, 3-9, 2016) of our leaders from across the spectrum chatting in a seemingly amiable manner are encouraging and will remain etched in our collective memory for years to come.
Ironically, in line with the old adage that every cloud has a silver lining, all these negotiations were now possible thanks to the lately much-maligned Phumaphi/sadc Commission of Enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing of former Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) commander Lieutenant-general Maaparankoe Mahao that is in keeping with the SADC Double Troika Summit in Pretoria, June 3, 2015 and subsequent communiques of SADC urged government to facilitate and level the playing field for opposition political leaders to return safely to Lesotho after their flight to neighboring South Africa.
I am advisedly saying the Commission’s recommendations were lately much-maligned because from the time the Commission crossed the border to Thaba-nchu, South Africa, government gave the Commission so much flak, to the time it made its findings and recommendations, that government publicly at least, never wanted anything to do with this commission and as a last straw at the Double Troika Summit in Gaborone, Botswana, government had to make a volte face in accepting the report let alone implementing its recommendations.
Suddenly, from bragging about setting up this commission, government perceive it as the prodigal son that needed to be thrown into the proverbial dust-bin of history.
It took massive nudging and threat of “disengagement” that government finally agreed to take the report.
As for implementing its recommendations there is still a massive concerted resistance from government arguing that the recommendations of the Commission which later became resolutions and in line with SADC Protocols and Treaties, have now become binding.
We need to urge our leaders as Basotho that the only way out of this political and security impasse is through negotiations.
Else this impoverished country is inevitably going down the precipice. It is all our collective responsibility to tell and write the history of Lesotho not SADC, not the European Union, not the Americans but only ourselves. The political history of this nation will not be written in blood but in prayer.
Our leaders need to get the proverbial elephant out of the room for this country to move forward like the rest of the world.
It is only bigoted and selfish elements that can resist this paradigm shift in our political, security and constitutional landscape in the long-term.
The chink in our collective armor are those elements that do not want implementations of the report.
It is also worth noting that in the letter inviting the tripartite opposition alliance to the negotiations, under the hand of the Government Secretary, copies of this correspondence were made to Presidents Ian Khama of Botswana and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, as the chairperson of SADC and the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security Cooperation as well the South African Deputy President and SADC Facilitator to Lesotho, Cyril Ramaphosa and SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Lawrence Stergomema Tax.
This signal by government in informing the top hierarchy of SADC and the tripartite opposition alliance in sending the deputy leaders, senior officials of their parties and the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) in sending its leaders to the talks demonstrate determination to see this saga settled finally. This is without a doubt a watershed moment for Lesotho.
As earlier alluded to, all the parties indicated that they would in collaboration with the leadership of the CCL, our spiritual leaders as a nation, fix the date for the next meeting involving all the political parties.
This is an opportunity we dare not spurn. The future of this nation is in the hands of our leaders and I do not doubt we have capable willing leaders from both opposing sides. Indeed, it is not being too far-fetched and ambitious to say that the whole world is keenly watching our leaders on how they conduct themselves and acquaint themselves in this critical epoch-making moment in our history.