Our troubles are too deep-rooted

Our troubles are too deep-rooted

Lesotho’s troubles regarding election results started even before the country got its independence. Immediately after the very first democratic elections, held on April 29, 1965, the BCP filed an application in the High Court challenging the results for ‘Masemousu and Qaqatu constituencies and subsequently won both cases.

The BCP fought in vain for the king to dissolve parliament as the BNP no longer commanded the majority in parliament.
However, in his book Lesotho 1970: An African Coup under the microscope, renowned novelist and scholar, Makalo Khaketla, argued that the king could not have dissolved the parliament as it was not in session then.
This was just the beginning of the woes of the Mountain Kingdom, the miseries that continue to haunt present day Lesotho even five decades after independence.

As I write this article the Southern African Development Community Preventive Mission (SAPMIL) has been baby-sitting Lesotho since December 2017. The mission has since been given another six months extension that will end in November 2018.
The extension was effected because Lesotho has not even moved an inch towards the envisaged reforms.
When talking about SADC countries Prof Patrick Lumumba says SADC is nowhere close to writing the obituary for ignorance. He says we can only avoid ignorance of who the political leaders are by ensuring that there is creation of an education sector that not only school our children but educates them.

The relevance of this speech to my beloved Lesotho is that the elites are standing on the side-lines as the politicians keep dragging their feet towards reforms.  The silence of the elites is too loud as they silently watch the personalities, not ideologies of the politicians taint the progress towards reforms.
It is no secret that in Lesotho the Electoral Act is amended almost after every election. This is because in the words of Prof Lumumba, Africans cannot count, their elections are always rigged.

The electoral Act has been changing constantly since we came back to democratic rule in 1993. Every time politicians lose elections they blame the electoral system and quickly amend it to suit them come the next elections.
We are so African that we have currently become a permanent item on the SADC agenda because we cannot do anything for ourselves and by ourselves. Even SADC itself I believe is tired of dealing with the Lesotho situation because nothing ever gets implemented. Lesotho is always inviting commissions but the recommendations of such commissions never see the light of the day.

One begins to wonder if the problems of Lesotho really emanate from the Constitution or the personalities of the political leaders.
The reform process was supposed to have begun during the Dr Mosisili-led coalition. Unfortunately that never happened as opposition politicians decided to boycott parliament in solidarity with their exiled leaders. We all know that the government collapsed with the reforms still hanging.
The current Dr Thabane-led coalition government, after more than a year in office has also not started with the reform process. They, like their predecessor are facing the same dilemma of some MPs from the opposition pledging that they will not be part of the reforms until charges against LCD leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, are dropped and he comes home.

They are also demanding that all soldiers that have been arrested be set free. With these demands, will Lesotho ever embark on the reforms or will we see instead SAPMIL being extended for another six months in November?
The current government, just like its forerunner cannot carry out reforms on the constitution as they do not command the two thirds majority needed for that exercise. If the opposition does not come to play, we reach a stalemate.

The reforms not happening is not a political impasse per say, rather it is a clash of personalities of those tasked with leading us. The current opposition will not engage in the reforms because those in government today never heeded their call to come home and embark on reforms.
In his speech at a rally in Botha-Bothe Dr Mosisili asked his supporters to get ready for elections as the current government is on the brink of collapse.
Suppose the government collapses without having effected the reforms, how will the next government go about this exercise, taking into consideration that we are a long way from one party government?

My plea to all political leaders, both in government, in opposition and outside of parliament, is that it is time to halt your egos and put Lesotho and Basotho first.  Remember that you are leaders because of the multitudes of unemployed youth, the poor adults who do not know where their next meal for their children will come from, the factory workers with their meagre salary, the security guards who have no security in their own jobs.
As you continue to derail the process of reform, our leaders, remember the young men that are dying in the abandoned South African mines, think of the young women that are being trafficked on the false promises of lucrative jobs in foreign countries.

Bear in mind the orphaned and vulnerable children that sleep on empty stomachs because of dire poverty that is surrounding them.
The reforms are not for political gain or mileage, as voters what we want to see is positive change is our lives, it does not matter who leads in that change, what is important is for the reforms to happen.

The time is now for all the almost thirty political leaders to put their heads together and come up with lasting solutions to the problems of this country. Let us give SADC a break to deal with developmental issues for our region.

By;  Kelello Rakolobe

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