Reforms must be inclusive

Reforms must be inclusive

THE arrival of the first batch of SADC troops in Lesotho last weekend should herald the beginning of an inclusive process regarding the much awaited reforms.
As we have argued in our previous editorials, Lesotho’s future hinges on the success of the security, constitutional and legislative reforms.
If we fail, then we are doomed.

It is on that basis that we urge Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his coalition partners to go all out to ensure the reforms are as inclusive as possible. This is no time for ‘cowboy’ diplomacy.
The invitation and guarantees of security to the three exiled leaders – Mothetjoa Metsing, Tseliso Mokhosi and Mathibeli Mokhothu – was a great start.
But we believe more needs to be done to ensure these leaders feel secure enough to come back home and be part of the reform process.
The government cannot afford to give conflicting statements. It must go all out to reassure the opposition players that it is not out to get them.
As it stands, the government’s hand has been weakened. The opposition can argue they will not play ball because their leaders are outside the country. That is why it is crucial to get them back in Lesotho.

The onus is therefore on the government to bend backwards and address the opposition leaders’ fears. It cannot afford to go it alone on the reforms.
At the same time, the opposition should not hold the government to ransom by making unreasonable demands. They must come to the party once reasonable assurances have been made about their security.

Thabane and his coalition partners in government will ultimately be judged on the basis of how they handle Lesotho’s reforms.
They have a great opportunity to enter the annals of history as individuals who played their part in stabilising Lesotho.
The reforms are not a sideshow from other key issues haunting Lesotho such as job creation and fighting poverty. They are part of a complete package.

Once Lesotho stabilises the politics by keeping the army in the barracks, it will go a long way in ensuring peace and economic prosperity for all Basotho.

Stability will result in economic growth.
It is critical that Lesotho keeps its side of the bargain. SADC has gone a long way in helping douse the flames in our house, it is now time to do our own part.

Lesotho is currently enjoying a lot of goodwill from our neighbours and the international community.
That goodwill will soon dissipate if we do not act swiftly to address our own challenges.
Once that happens, we will be left to our own devices.

The longer we take to kick-start the reform process, the faster the government will lose its leverage. The international community will become apprehensive and the opposition will be more emboldened.
The government must get on with the reforms and build a lasting legacy for Lesotho.

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