Let us deal with the unfinished business

Let us deal with the unfinished business

WITH the holiday season almost over and as we seek to chart a new beginning, Basotho find themselves coming face-to-face with the same critical issues that were left unattended last year. This is no doubt this is a time of great anxiety for Basotho. What is causing the anxiety is the current state of political uncertainty wrought by the split in the Democratic Congress (DC) and the general turbulence in the seven-member coalition government.

As we closed the previous year, there were fears the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was heading for the rocks and that a fresh election was looming.
The opposition which has been plotting a vote of no-confidence in Parliament went so far as to claim the government was now virtually on life-support. They argued the coalition government was now in the intensive care unit.  According to the opposition, only a vote-of-no-confidence in Parliament would put this government out of its misery. Yet, the Prime Minister has not shown any signs that he will give up power without a mighty fight.

In fact, the message coming out of Qhobosheaneng Building is that this government is here to stay. It says it is here to stay and wants to preside over the critical reforms as recommended by SADC two years ago. Beyond the politics, Lesotho is also facing an “economic Armageddon” with an ax dangling over the renewal of AGOA.

About 40 000 jobs will be on the line if the US deal is not renewed.
Given the antagonistic opinions across the political divide it is clear that we are in a very toxic political environment. Unless something is done, our politics will remain adversarial with very little benefit for Basotho. As we begin the New Year, we believe we need to change tack and pursue politics for the benefit of the electorate.

The New Year must imbue within us a new spirit of tolerance for the greater good of society.
Our politics must move from the narrow, individualistic interests to that of the wider society.
Admittedly, that is a big ask precisely because man is inherently a very selfish animal.
It is against this background that Prime Minister Mosisili will find his in-tray quite full when he resumes duty after the holiday break.

The PM must reach out to his adversaries and build bridges for the sake of the nation.
He must, with the support of the opposition, push through the SADC reforms.
Yet, these reforms will only succeed when they have the backing of the opposition and civil society.

Without such backing any reforms will be dead in the water.
We are of the opinion that this country can only bury the ghost of the past when it moves ahead and embraces the reforms that will entrench our democracy.
Mosisili must also find a way of placating the European Union (EU) and the United States government, key blocs that have provided support to Lesotho over the past 50 years.
It would be tempting to encourage Mosisili, through a misguided form of nationalism, to thump his nose at the US and the EU and lash out at the two for interfering in Lesotho’s domestic affairs.

However, the reality is that we are in a very tight spot. We might have to play ball or kiss goodbye to international aid.

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