Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Mo­halenyane Phakela

HIS Majesty, King Let­sie III, says Ba­sotho must re­turn to the prin­ci­ples of King Moshoeshoe I who founded the nation on the prin­ci­ples of peace and tol­er­ance to en­sure a coun­try that is united and at peace re­gard­less of race and re­li­gious be­liefs.

His Majesty made the re­marks dur­ing the Na­tional Day of Prayer for the suc­cess of the mul­ti­sec­tor re­forms at Set­soto Sta­dium on Fri­day.

The prayers, which were held si­mul­ta­ne­ously at sev­eral venues across the coun­try, marked the sec­ond step in the se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties and events that are ex­pected to cul­mi­nate in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­sti­tu­tional, se­cu­rity sec­tor, gov­er­nance, me­dia and ju­di­cial re­forms that were rec­om­mended by the SADC in 2016.

The first step was Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s ad­dress to par­lia­ment a fort­night ago to of­fi­cially launch the Na­tional Re­forms Agenda.

Al­though the re­forms were rec­om­mended by SADC in 2016, im­ple­men­ta­tion has been stalled by the con­stant bick­er­ing be­tween the govern­ment and the op­po­si­tion.

The op­po­si­tion has is­sued sev­eral de­mands in­clud­ing the for­ma­tion of a govern­ment of na­tional unity, the safe re­turn of their ex­iled lead­ers and an end to crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion of their lead­ers and high rank­ing cur­rent and for­mer army of­fi­cers as pre­con­di­tions to their (the op­po­si­tion’s) par­tic­i­pa­tion in the re­forms process.

The govern­ment has made it clear that a GNU is not nec­es­sary be­cause there is al­ready a con­sti­tu­tion­ally elected govern­ment in place. The govern­ment has also said that the prose­cu­tion of all those im­pli­cated in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties is a nor­mal ju­di­cial process that can­not be tied to the re­forms process.

And while His Majesty, Dr Tha­bane, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki and other govern­ment lead­ers at­tended the Fri­day prayer ses­sion, the op­po­si­tion stuck to its guns and boy- cot­ted the process.

The ex­cep­tion was Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party leader, Moeketse Malebo, who at­tended, say­ing he saw the need for re­forms.

Speak­ing at the event, His Majesty called for unity and im­plored the nation to seek di­vine in­ter­ven­tion to en­sure a suc­cess­ful re­forms process.

To em­pha­sise his point, His Majesty quoted the bi­ble book of II Chron­i­cles 7 verse 14 which states that, “If my peo­ple who are called by my name, will hum­ble them­selves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will for­give their sin and heal their land”.

King Let­sie III said God would lib­er­ate Le­sotho from the prob­lems paralysing the nation and re­store peace and sta­bil­ity.

“Moshoeshoe I built this nation and coun­selled that in­stead of pour­ing scorn on each other, we should treat each other as brethren. It is only when we for­get how we wronged each and for­give each other that we can at­tain ev­er­last­ing peace.

“I con­tinue to plead that the nation should be united in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of re­forms and ev­ery­one must have an in­put so that the out­comes will cover ev­ery­one. We can­not make mean­ing­ful steps with­out God’s guid­ance as He will pave the way for the jour­ney we are about to em­bark on. We need to call on God to heal our world so that we can re­tain the im­age of a peace and lov­ing coun­try that Le­sotho has al­ways been known for,” His Majesty said.

King Let­sie III also called for the sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion of the de­vel­op­ment part­ners to en­sure the suc­cess of the re­forms process.

“As we em­bark on this jour­ney of re­forms, we hope that our de­vel­op­ment part­ners will walk with us as they have been sup­port­ing us all the way. Their spirit of co­op­er­a­tion will never be for­got­ten as we strive to re­store peace away from the wor­ries that have been trou­bling this coun­try,” he said.

Her Majesty Queen ‘Mase­n­ate Mo­hato Seeiso, other govern­ment dig­ni­taries and of­fi­cials from the Euro­pean Union and United Na­tions also at­tended the prayer ses­sion which was led by the Chris­tian Coun­cil of Le­sotho (CCL).

Dif­fer­ent faiths, in­clud­ing the Mus­lims, Hin­dus and the Baha’i were also rep­re­sented at the event. Var­i­ous cler­gy­men sung hymns and preached about the need for re­pen­tance, peace, na­tional heal­ing, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, unity and co­op­er­a­tion of all stake­hold­ers.

Ro­man Catholic Arch­bishop Tlali Lerotholi said that a govern­ment could not last with­out the guid­ance of God.

“It is dif­fi­cult to lead Le­sotho with­out God and His guid­ance. We there­fore need to ask God to lead us as He says that if we turn from our wicked ways, he will pro­tect and guide us.

“Like Moses who led the Is­raelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land (Is­rael), we also need God to lead us into peace, rain and pros­per­ity,” Arch­bishop Lerotholi said.

CCL spokesper­son, Khosi Makubakube quoted Ma­hatma Gandhi who once said that, “What you want to see should start with you”.

Mr Makubakube said this meant that each in­di­vid­ual should be­gin to change them­selves in ac­cor­dance with the peace­ful change they wanted to see in the coun­try.

His Majesty, Dr Tha­bane and the mem­bers of the CCL all re­leased white doves into the air as a sym­bol of the peace which should pre­vail in Le­sotho.

Chop­pers from the Le­sotho De­fence Force com­ple­mented their ef­forts by fly­ing past the sta­dium with white flags to sym­bol­ise peace.

HIS Majesty King Let­sie III (left) and Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane dur­ing the Na­tional Day of Prayer on Fri­day.

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