We need visionary leadership

We need visionary leadership

IT was a pleasure to see Basotho finally pushing aside their political differences and sitting down together at the reforms’ conference in Maseru this week.
That is the spirit that will be required if we are to haul this country from the current quagmire.
Among those at the conference was former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing who returned home from exile in South Africa last weekend.

Metsing’s absence had threatened to scuttle the reforms after the opposition demanded that he and other exiled leaders be part of the high profile discussions.
It is our considered position that if Lesotho is to be set on a path of real political transformation, it will require that all participate freely in the reforms.
Thanks to Justice Dikgang Moseneke, the SADC point-man on Lesotho, all leaders are coming to the reforms on the understanding that there is no sword of Damocles that is hanging over their heads.

That is a good thing.
As we have argued before, only an inclusive process will ensure that the reforms are home-grown and receive universal endorsement from Basotho.
At the end of the reform process, Basotho must be thoroughly convinced that they own the end product.

Of course, every Mosotho has a certain measure of understanding of what is ailing this country. It is the toxic nature of our politics. The reforms offer us a chance to disinfect our rotten politics.
We also have weak institutions of governance. Our judiciary has for decades been politicised. We must de-politicise the judiciary.
Our Parliament has been reduced to a rubber stamp. It has not succeeded in playing its oversight role on the executive which has become too powerful. We need to empower our MPs to play that role effectively.

The powers of the executive must be checked. We have also had problems with a meddlesome army in our political sphere since the coup of 1986. The role of the Lesotho army in a democratic state must therefore be clearly enunciated. But beyond all this, we think without reforming the economy, Lesotho will continue to experience political upheaval.

We believe at the centre of Lesotho’s political challenges, is not the tussle for power, but a vicious fight for economic opportunities. The cake is just too small.
We need to improve the economy as part of a wider reform agenda. With thousands of jobs created and a nation fully contented economically, there will be less of these fights we have seen in the last few years.

Rwanda, small as it is, has managed to tame its demons and is now a model economy on the African continent. We need to adopt the Rwanda model and tweak it in our own context.
That can be done. But it will only happen with a visionary leadership that can see beyond the current squabbles.
These are some of the issues that must receive attention as our political leadership begins the reforms.

We hope that our leaders will, for once, bury their differences and pull in the same direction as they seek to find a lasting solution to the myriad of challenges facing Lesotho.
It would tragic if we were to squander this opportunity by focusing on narrow political agendas. The political leadership must look beyond their selfish and partisan interests.

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