Climb down from your high towers

Climb down from your high towers

THIS week, Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader Selibe Mochoboroane chided the coalition government over the manner it is handling the reform process.
Mochoboroane accused the coalition government of arrogance and big-headedness.
What appeared to have miffed him was the government’s decision a fortnight ago to unilaterally present the Reforms Bill 2018 in Parliament without consulting the opposition.

To Mochoboroane and the opposition bloc, this was a naked repudiation of a common position agreed by all political parties in the run-up to last year’s June election.

Civil society organisations also expressed concerns that they had been side-lined and called for an all-stakeholder conference to agree on the modalities of the reforms. Mochoboroane this week spoke passionately about the need for dialogue to ensure the reforms succeed.

At the core of his message was a call for the reform process to be transparent. He also wants the whole process to be as inclusive as possible.
In simple terms, the MEC leader is accusing the coalition government of arrogance.
That is a very strong allegation.

It would be tempting for the coalition government to lash out at the likes of Mochoboroane for speaking out. That would be wrong.
We hope the coalition government will adopt a higher moral ground – and listen. A democratic government must be responsive to the cries of its own people.

The general perception is that the government did not consult wide enough when it came up with the Reforms Bill 2018.
A much more thorough consultation process with the opposition and civil society groups would ensure the reform process has the backing of more Basotho. An all-stakeholder conference would allow the views of every key sector of society to be represented.

The second key grievance from the opposition is that the reforms should not proceed when their leaders are still stuck in exile in South Africa.
The opposition wants the coalition government to facilitate the smooth return of the exiled leaders. Without their leaders, the opposition says they will not participate in the reform process.

That too would appear to be a legitimate demand.
To secure their return to Lesotho would require a cessation of all threats and the creation of a conducive political environment for every Mosotho.
Yet, it would appear the government and the opposition are both digging in. No side appears prepared to climb down the high mountain.

This obviously will have dire consequences for the reform process for Lesotho. We do not wish to see Lesotho going this route.

The reforms are probably the only way for Lesotho to extricate itself from decades of political strife. No side should ever think they are bigger than the other. They desperately need each other.

The government and the opposition must therefore be nudged towards talks to resolve their differences.
At this critical juncture, Lesotho needs all the support from its friends in SADC and the rest of the world to pull through with the reform process.

Yet, we are fully cognisant of the deep levels of political polarisation in the country. The anger and levels of animosity run very deep.
But for the sake of Lesotho, politicians must swallow their pride and look at what is best for the country.

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