Sadc is not the en­emy

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

WE have been fol­low­ing with ap­pre­hen­sion the re­ports that Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mosisili be­lieves that the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity’s (SADC) de­ci­sion to de­ploy South African deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and the SADC Over­sight Com­mit­tee to mon­i­tor the po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Le­sotho ahead of next month’s elec­tions con­sti­tutes an in­ter­fer­ence in our coun­try’s in­ter­nal af­fairs.

We would have hoped this were not true but then again Dr Mosisili wrote to SADC chair­per­son King Mswati III, dis­miss­ing the de­ci­sions of the re­gional body as in­ter­fer­ence with Le­sotho’s sovereignty.

There is no need for us to re­state the ob­vi­ous fact that there is a good rea­son why SADC has ap­pointed Mr Ramaphosa as its fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho.

SADC is cer­tainly not the en­emy here and it is ev­i­dent that Le­sotho is one of the re­gion’s prob­lem chil­dren along with the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo (DRC) and Zim­babwe.

SADC are not here for hol­i­day and some other fun ac­tiv­i­ties. In fact the re­gional body has ex­pended so much in terms of fi­nan­cial re­sources, time and per­son­nel, con­ven­ing meet­ings af­ter meet­ings and even set­ting up a com­mis­sion of in­quiry un­der the lead­er­ship of re­tired Botswana judge, Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi.

In fact the com­mis­sion of in­quiry was set up at the in­sti­ga­tion of Dr Mosisili in the af­ter­math of 2015 killing of for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao by sol­diers who had been sent to ar­rest him on sus­pi­cion that he was be­hind a foiled mutiny plot in­volv­ing sev­eral LDF mem­bers who are now ap­pear­ing be­fore a Court Mar­tial.

Since then, SADC has been do­ing what it can to as­sist the coun­try along the path of re­forms de­signed to achieve sta­bil­ity in gov­er­nance and in the se­cu­rity sec­tor, with­out which the coun­try will re­main a bas­ket case re­ly­ing on hand­outs and in­ca­pable of sus­tained eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

We have al­ready pointed out that we are a prob­lem child that needs all the as­sis­tance we can get to move out of our per­ilous sit­u­a­tion.

The con­se­quences of thumb­ing our noses at those who would help us out of our self-in­flicted prob­lems are just too ghastly to con­tem­plate.

We did not need to go fur­ther than the prece­dence of Zim­babwe and its Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe to un­der­stand why it is wrong to bite the hand that seeks to feed you.

Prior to the 2013 elec­tions in that un­for­tu­nate coun­try, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe mounted his favourite hob­by­horse of blam­ing out­siders and pub­licly cas­ti­gated SADC, in­sist­ing he would sooner with­draw Zim­babwe from the re­gional body than al­low it to dic­tate to his sov­er­eign gov­ern­ment what it could and could not do.

He went as far as de­scrib­ing SADC fa­cil­i­ta­tor (South African Pres­i­dent) Ja­cob Zuma’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lindiwe Zulu as a “street woman” for sug­gest­ing that Zim­babwe should fol­low SADC elec­toral guide­lines it had helped in shap­ing as a mem­ber of the re­gional body.

Suf­fice to say that Zim­babwe re­mains a bas­ket case with­out a cur­rency of its own, not to men­tion an in­ter­na­tional pariah sad­dled with so­cioe­co­nomic and gov­er­nance chal­lenges be­cause of Mu­gabe’s in­tran­si­gence.

Surely these can­not be the role mod­els that we would look up to as a coun­try.

It stands to rea­son that we must give SADC all the re­spect it de­serves as it goes about its mis­sion of as­sist­ing us to achieve nor­malcy.

It is our wish to take our place as dig­ni­fied mem­ber of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity with a sta­ble func­tion­ing gov­ern­ment and other re­lated in­sti­tu­tions ded­i­cated to the wel­fare of cit­i­zens.

It is our wish that we can have a sta­ble gov­ern­ment that can last the full five year term.

Le­sotho could well be a strife-free, sta­ble land flow­ing with milk and honey for all its peo­ple with some left over for vis­i­tors.

This is only pos­si­ble if we con­cen­trate on tack­ling the real chal­lenges and not make en­e­mies of those try­ing to help us.

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