Lesotho’s politicians must find each other

Lesotho’s politicians must find each other

THIS week SADC leaders urged South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to continue his efforts to persuade Lesotho’s three exiled opposition leaders to return home.

The SADC summit in Swaziland also noted the progress Lesotho has made over the past few months in implementing the regional bloc’s recommendations.

One of the key recommendations has been a call by SADC for the exiled trio to return home after they fled the country last year claiming their lives were in danger.

Yet in spite of Ramaphosa’s fervent efforts to coax them to return, the opposition leaders have remained adamant that they will not return until Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Tlali Kamoli has been sacked.

That has proved a deal breaker for the talks.

But what has been encouraging is that the government has already informed the nation that it was engaging the General in talks for his exit.

We believe a way can still be found for an amicable resolution of that complex matter. The Kamoli issue should not be a deal breaker.

Of course the opposition would love to see General Kamoli’s back yesterday. Yet the complexity of the subject would require sufficient time to reach consensus with all key players involved.

It would be tempting to assess the outcome of the Swaziland summit in terms of victors and the vanquished.

But that would be a mistake.

In our opinion, there should be no victors or losers. The focus should be on the greater good of Lesotho. The future of Lesotho is at stake and only a sober diagnosis of the causes of our current woes will take this country forward.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, who is expected to brief the nation on the outcome of the summit this week, has reiterated the government’s commitment to political reforms.

The premier will obviously point out at the recent workshop on security sector reforms as a demonstration of his government’s commitment.

While this process of reform is going on, the government will have nothing to lose by creating an enabling environment for the exiled leaders’ return. It must guarantee their safe return with solid promises they will not be molested by political hoodlums.

With the three opposition leaders back home, the government can focus on implementing other key reforms. There can be no political and security sector reforms without the input of the opposition.

The process of reform must be as inclusive as possible.

We believe the government and the opposition can still find each other and work together for the common good. They should find each other, with the assistance of course, of Ramaphosa.

Issuing ultimatums or gloating over supposed victories would only harden attitudes among hawks on both sides of the political divide with devastating consequences for the future of this country.


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