LCN calls for ‘hon­est’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

Le­sotho Coun­cil of Non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions (LCN) ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor se­abata Mot­samai has urged gov­ern­ment to “open its doors for hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion” with stake­hold­ers and en­sure the coun­try con­tin­ues to en­joy cor­dial re­la­tions with de­vel­op­ment part­ners.

Mr Mot­samai made the ap­peal when ad­dress­ing a Work­ers’ Day gath­er­ing at Pitso Ground in Maseru on Mon­day.

his call came a few days af­ter the LCN was ac­cused of driv­ing a po­lit­i­cal agenda and fu­el­ing in­sta­bil­ity in the coun­try. the ac­cu­sa­tion was made by the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) — one of the par­ties in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment — af­ter the LCN sup­ported a 12 May stay-away or­gan­ised by the ‘Al­liance of Non-state Ac­tors’ to put pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment to “speed­ily” im­ple­ment the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry’s set of rec­om­men­da­tions.

the rec­om­men­da­tions were made by a team com­mis­sioned by the south­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (SADC) to in­ves­ti­gate the fa­tal shoot­ing of former army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao in June last year. Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Ma­hao was killed outside Maseru by his col­leagues al­legedly while re­sist­ing ar­rest for sus­pected mutiny.

Af­ter the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the probe team made sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions, among them the dis­missal of army com­man­der Lt-gen tlali Kamoli “in the in­ter­est of restor­ing trust and ac­cep­tance of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) to the Ba­sotho na­tion”, and sus­pen­sion of all LDF of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and trea­son while in­ves­ti­ga­tions into their cases pro­ceed “in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice”.

the Com­mis­sion also rec­om­mended gov­ern­ment should en­sure crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the death of Lt-gen Ma­hao are pur­sued “vig­or­ously” and that the po­lice are em­pow­ered and re­sourced ac­cord­ingly for the task.

the Com­mis­sion also rec­om­mended gov­ern­ment should en­sure the safe re­turn of op- po­si­tion lead­ers s from ex­ile.

All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader thomas tha­bane,ane, and his Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho coun­ter­parts rts the­sele ‘Maserib­ane ‘ Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo o re­spec­tively, fled for South Africa in May last amid claims some LDF mem­bers were plan­ning to kill them.

In its call for the loom­ing stay-away, the al­liance’s spokesper­son, per­son, Makama Monese, said: “the gov­ern­ment’s ent’s re­luc­tance to re­ceive the Com­mis­sion’s re­port and im­ple­ment its rec­om­men­da­tions is threat­en­ing Le­sotho’s re­la­tion­ship with ith the United states and ul­ti­mately,, the coun­try’s el­i­gi­bil­ity for AGOA A (African Growth and op­por­tu­ni­tyty Act which al­lows cer­tain good­soods pro­duced in el­i­gi­ble coun­triesun­tries du­tyfree en­try into the Us). If we for­feit AGOA, at least 40 000 fac­tory job­sbs will be di­rectly lost andnd other re­lated busi­nesses inesses will be af­fected.. this is why we have de­cided to call foror this stay-away on 12 May to avert such a dis­as­ter.

“We have e is­sued sta­tee­ments about our con­cerns but they have never been re­sponded to. We were sim­ply ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to re­spond to the Us con­cerns on the rule of law in order to avert the po­ten­tial neg­a­tive eval­u­a­tion of the coun­try for its qual­i­fi­ca­tion for AGOA and the Mil­len­nium Chal­lenge Cor­po­ra­tion ( MCC) grant.”

But LCD spokesper­son, teboho sekata, hit back and ac­cused the LCN, and its af­fil­i­ates, De­vel­op­ment for Peace ed­u­ca­tion (DPE) and trans­for­ma­tion Re­source Cen­tre (TRC), of us­ing the ‘Al­liance of Non-state Ac­tors’ as a smoke­screen to push their po­lit­i­cal agenda.

“the only thing these or­gan­i­sa­tions want is to mobilise sup­port from fac­tory work­ers by ly­ing to them that should AGOA not be re­newed, they will lose their jobs. All they re­ally want is sup­port to have num­bers so that they push for Kamoli’s re­moval.

“they are driv­ing the op­po­si­tion’s agenda. This is their po­lit­i­cal fight that they are push­ing at the ex­pense of other peo­ple,” Mr sekata said.

how­ever, Mr Mot­samai told Mon­day’s gath­er­ing the LCN was not aligned to any po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“our doors are open to ev­ery­one re­gard­less of their po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion. We are open to the go gov­ern­ment, op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties and all other pri­vate stake­hold­ers. All we are call­ing for is com­mu­ni­ca­tion and more com­mu­nica mu­ni­ca­tion,” Mr Mot­samai said.

“Com “Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the best rem­edy for any sit­uati sit­u­a­tion. the gov­ern­ment should lis­ten to what t the peo­ple have to say.”

he a also urged Labour and em­ploy­ment Min­ist Min­is­ter Ad­vo­cate thulo Mahlak­eng, who graced the com­mem­o­ra­tion, to en­gage his col­leag col­leagues in the gov­ern­ment so they could meet d de­vel­op­ment part­ners and iron out any is­sues that could “ham­per progress in any democr demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion”.

“Plea “Please en­gage in talks with your col­leagues in gov­ern­ment­gov and re­spond to the peo­ple’s grieva griev­ances. talk to de­vel­op­ment part­ners on is­sue is­sues of con­cern so that they don’t end up af­fectin­gaffec these men and women stand­ing be­fore­befo us here. talk to the Amer­i­cans lest we all go hun­gry,” Mr Mot­samai said.

heh also urged the gov­ern­ment to re­spondsp hon­estly and “not just for the sake of it”.

“When some­one is for­ever top­i­cal, it’s ad­vis­able that the per­son goes be­hind the scenes, cleans him­self or her­self upu and puts his or her house in order. If this is the case with Le­sotho, please go and get your house in order and to­geth­erg help save these few jobs that are stillst left.

“en­gage in talks, help Le­sotho’s ex­ports ac­cess for­eign markets so that we can all live. this is­sue (AGOA) is very frag­ile and has to be han­dled with ab­so­lute care. We, as LCN, are just watch­dogs. our ears and eyes are wide open and we are just wait­ing to be given a man­date and we’ll fol­low and sup­port. We wouldn’t want to see this coun­try per­ish,” said Mr Mot­samai.

he also urged the gov­ern­ment to ad­here to the rule of law as it has al­ways promised.

“You have promised to love and ad­here to good gov­er­nance and the rule of law, so let it be. Govern us prop­erly. You are our lead­ers and we have none other than you, so please han­dle this AGOA is­sue with all the care it de­serves,” he added.

LCN Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Se­abata Mot­samai

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