Rea­son must pre­vail

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

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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.

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