Reason must prevail
HE entire nation, the southern African region and the international community will certainly be holding their collective breathe in anticipation of a positive outcome from the talks between the government and opposition leaders who are currently holed up in neighbouring South Africa.
Elsewhere in this edition, we carry the story of the talks that will take place between a government delegation led by Minister thesele Maseribane and the self-exiled Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, and his deputy, tšeliso Mokhosi.
these are talks which have been requested by Mr Metsing — he of the bluster and brinkmanship which at times threatened to veer into treasonous terrain.
He actually wants to negotiate his safe return to participate in the country’s reforms process. Some would say his choices, if any, had become limited especially after the South African government acceded to requests by Lesotho to begin the process to extradite him from South Africa so that he has in day in court to answer to corruption charges.
there are still others who would say that sooner or later he had to come back or the reforms train would move on without him and he would have therefore missed a big chance to influence a process that would shape the trajectory of this country’s socio-economic and political future. Others believe he wants to talk to find a leeway to avoid the embarrassment of being finally extradited.
there might be some complete truth in all those views but ours is not to speculate. Whatever his motives, ours is simply to applaud him for his decision to come to the negotiating table.
And from the looks of it, the opposition is fortunate enough in that the government appears ready to extend an olive branch to its opponents in order to take the country forward.
While we cannot prejudge the outcome of the talks what seems clear enough even at this juncture is that the government is prepared to hear the opposition out and it is ready to be guided in its next course of action by the outcome of the talks.
Commenting on the fact that the talks are being held against the background of the extradition process, Chief Maseribane said, “Mr Metsing’s request to talk with the government brings a new dimension to the current state of affairs”.
“I cannot say what is going to happen because there are new developments to the whole matter. Going forward, decisions will be informed by, among other factors, what will emerge from the discussion we are going to have with Mr Metsing.”
Mr Metsing and the opposition’s demands are wellknown, namely that the criminal proceedings against him must be halted at least until the completion of the reforms process and the setting up of what he calls an independent prosecuting authority.
He has also demanded a government of national unity (GNU). Equally we are aware that the government has made it clear that there will be no GNU nor will it put an end to criminal proceedings against the likes of the former army commander, tlali Kamoli and many others. Indeed, the demand that Kamoli’s prosecution be terminated is untenable and debauched. As many other of Mr Metsing’s demands.
It is incomprehensible why Mr Metsing and the rest of the opposition would want people who committed crimes and against whom there is mounting evidence to be let scot free while we all want to see the rule of law and accountability restored in the Kingdom. But this is not to say that there cannot be some concessions within the limits of reason.
It is therefore our hope that the two parties will find enough common ground for a breakthrough which will allow the Mr Metsing and his colleagues to take their position among the political actors in the reforms process if they so wish.
the politicians owe it to Basotho and SADC, who have had to babysit us for far too long. We call upon all the parties concerned to set the stage that will ultimately enable our country to be weaned from its unenviable tag as one of the region’s most undisciplined children.
Otherwise if all fails, the reforms process must proceed only with those who want to participate in it and those whose intentions are bonafide. After all, Lesotho is a nation of two million people and it should not be held to ransom by a few self-serving politicians.