Go for the reforms!

Go for the reforms!

THE government of Lesotho is plodding ahead with plans to hold an all-stakeholders’ conference to push for constitutional and security sector reforms later this month.
Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing has reassured the nation that the process will be as inclusive as possible.

The government has over the last couple of weeks met the media, civil society and opposition parties to solicit their views on the way forward.

It is our position as a newspaper that a fully comprehensive consultative process is the only route for Lesotho if it is to crawl out of its current quagmire.

The process of consultation before the all-stakeholder conference must be as inclusive as possible. The views of Basotho must be heard, loud and clear, if they are to own the process.
The consultation process must therefore not just be “procedural”; it must go beyond mere window-dressing.

The all-stakeholder conference will offer Basotho a platform to talk. That is very critical. We believe it is not beyond Basotho to sit down together and discuss openly issues of national concern.

That key conference scheduled for later this month, gives Basotho a rare opportunity to craft a constitution that should be a model for democratic governance.
The new constitution, that will be home-grown, should act as a bulwark against dictatorship and misrule.

It must vigorously safeguard and defend Basotho’s democratic rights. It must ensure Lesotho has strong institutions to keep the executive in check.
The new constitution must make any new government to be elected after its promulgation accountable to the people.

We believe we have the capacity as Basotho to rise above our political differences as we chart the future of our country.

The fact that we are re-writing completely a new constitution shows there were problems with the current supreme law that was adopted after the re-introduction of democracy in 1993.

We hope we have learnt our lessons over the past 24 years.
The reforms therefore offer Lesotho a glorious chance to protect future generations from going through similar traumatic experiences.

We owe it to future generations to fix what is ailing this country.
While politicians might take the lead, we believe they alone should not be allowed to own the process. This is because politicians are by nature driven by self-interest.
Allowing them to drive the process could have a very negative impact on the whole process. It is therefore critical that the constitutional and security sector reforms incorporate the views of all Basotho.

We are also pleased to see that the reform process has kick-started in earnest.
The return home of some exiled Basotho last weekend should give fresh impetus to the reform agenda.

It is understandable that some of the exiled Basotho might be bitter and might want to seek revenge.

But that will only mean we remain stuck in the mud as a country.
Revenge will not help stabilise Lesotho.

The government must also ensure the returnees feel safe and that no harm falls on them. That is critical to foster a spirit of trust and cooperation.

Meanwhile, the government must go out of its way to cajole former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, BNP leader Thesele ’Maseribane and Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader, Keketso Rantšo, to return home.

Lesotho is better off with these three exiled leaders at home. In fact, the trio’s return will go a long way in reassuring the international community that there is stability in Lesotho.

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