no more ex­cuses for en­act­ing re­forms

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

FRENCH critic, jour­nal­ist, and nov­el­ist Jean-baptiste Alphonse Karr is mostly known for coin­ing the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same” in 1849.

Lesotho can cer­tainly bor­row Mr Karr’s phrase in light of the events of this week. The Moun­tain King­dom can also bor­row from the catch­phrase “One step for­ward, two steps back...” which re­flects on an anec­dote about a frog try­ing to climb out of a wa­ter well; for ev­ery two steps the frog climbs, it falls back by one step, mak­ing its progress ar­du­ous.

The as­sas­si­na­tion of Lesotho De­fence Force com­man­der Lt-gen Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo un­der­scores the long way Lesotho still needs to go in bring­ing about last­ing peace and sta­bil­ity.

For those who were rest­ing on their lau­rels think­ing that the bouts of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity were a thing of the past, the events of Tues­day of­fer a sober­ing per­spec­tive and a clar­ion call for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of multi-sec­toral re­forms.

To the unini­ti­ated, Lt-gen Motšo­motšo was shot dead at his Ratjo­mose bar­racks on Tues­day morn­ing by Brigadier Bu­lane Sechele who was ac­com­pa­nied by Colonel Tefo Hashatsi as re­ported in this edi­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Le­sego Mak­gothi, the two se­nior of­fi­cers had con­fronted Lt-gen Motšo­motšo over the po­lice’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of three army of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in the killing of a woman near the home of for­mer LDF com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Af­ter Lt-gen Motšo­motšo ex­plained that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was made in im­ple­men­ta­tion of SADC de­ci­sions to probe LDF mem­bers im­pli­cated in acts of crim­i­nal­ity, Brig Sechele al­legedly pulled out a firearm and fa­tally shot the army com­man­der.

Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi were show­ered with bul­lets by Lt-gen Motšo­motšo’s body­guards out­side the of­fice af­ter the lat­ter re­alised what had hap­pened. Brig Sechele died at the spot, while Col Hashatsi died of his wounds in a nearby hospi­tal.

The South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) rightly de­scribed the as­sas­si­na­tion as “bar­baric and heinous”, and Lesotho owes it to the re­gional bloc to en­sure such an in­ci­dent does not hap­pen again.

SADC is clearly ex­as­per­ated with Lesotho’s peren­nial crises as ev­i­denced by the pos­ture of South Africa in par­tic­u­lar.

If there is any pos­i­tive to be taken from this tragedy, it is in the de­ploy­ment of standby force to Lesotho from South Africa, An­gola and Mozam­bique to en­sure the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­forms. With se­cu­rity now guar­an­teed, there can be no con­vinc­ing ex­cuse for fail­ure to im­ple­ment the re­forms which en­com­pass the se­cu­rity, pub­lic ser­vice, judiciary, leg­is­la­ture and even me­dia sec­tors.

The time has come for Ba­sotho across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide to come to­gether and chart a way for­ward for pos­ter­ity. Surely, Lt-gen Motšo­motšo should not die in vain, since he was gunned down while enun­ci­at­ing the need for the SADC re­forms to be im­ple­mented with­out fail.

Last month, Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s as­ser­tion that Lesotho should cease be­ing SADC’S “bad boy” and be­come a con­struc­tive mem­ber of the bloc.

Dr Tha­bane as­sured SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Lesotho and South African Vice-pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa that the Moun­tain King­dom was de­ter­mined to shed the ig­no­ble tag of bad boy of the re­gional bloc.

Any pros­e­cu­tions by the gov­ern­ment should be for crimes com­mit­ted and not for set­tling po­lit­i­cal scores. In the end, no one wins a war of at­tri­tion be­cause both sides can in­flict harm on the other. Maybe we can take a cue from Ma­hatma Gandhi’s pol­icy of non-vi­o­lence which was fa­mously used dur­ing the cam­paign for in­de­pen­dence in In­dia. There is a well-known quo­ta­tion that helps to ex­press the ra­tio­nale for this non-re­tal­ia­tory phi­los­o­phy: “An eye for an eye will leave ev­ery­one blind.”

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