Mochoboroane demands inclusive reform process

Mochoboroane demands inclusive reform process

MASERU – MOVEMENT for Economic Change (MEC) leader Selibe Mochoboroane this week demanded an inclusive process to drive Lesotho’s reform agenda. Mochoboroane told thepost in an interview that politicians must not allow their exaggerated sense of self-importance to hinder the reforms. He said it was sad that the government had failed to call for an all-inclusive dialogue before it tabled the Reforms Bill 2018 in Parliament two weeks ago. “They have to engage all the stakeholders,” he said.

He also said the Bill should be product of Basotho not only of four political parties that have formed the government. “Who said Basotho want the Bill to be called what they have named it?” he said, adding: “Besides, we signed a document that states that the Bill should be inclusive and transparent.”

He also said the government had also failed to follow the correct procedure in tabling the Bill in Parliament. “This government does not even have 80 seats, so I don’t understand why they are arrogant and can’t even listen to the opposition,” he said. “We want them to understand that the reforms do not belong to them but to Basotho,” he said.

“We signed for a multi-stakeholder dialogue and the LCD and DC are part of the stakeholders. How are they going to take part when their leaders are still in exile,” he said.

“There should be consultations because that is the right thing to do.”Mochoboroane said local politicians must not be arrogant when it comes to pushing the reforms.

He said Lesotho needs selfless leaders without egos if it is to have a bright future. Mochoboroane also said the arrogance of the government could easily lead to a referendum during the constitutional reforms because they will come up with Bills that will not be agreed upon.

He said referendums are expensive because they are held the way general elections are held. “A referendum will cost Basotho a lot of money. So, they should not do it the way they want to do it,” he added. Mochoboroane’s comments come at a time when the coalition government is locked in a fierce tussle with opposition parties over the control of the reform process.

The reforms were recommended by SADC to help restore stability in Lesotho after the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) attempted a coup and later murdered its deposed commander Maaparankoe Mahao. The regional bloc recommended that there should be security, judiciary, public service, constitutional and parliamentary reforms for the Basotho nation to heal itself.

SADC recommended that the reforms processes should be all encompassing with everybody participating. However, the opposition is insisting they will not participate in the reforms because their three leaders were hounded out of the country and are now in exile in South Africa.

They have also said they will not participate in the reforms as long as the SADC troops remain in Lesotho. They want the SADC soldiers to leave.
The government, on the other hand, has ignored the opposition’s demands and has gone ahead to table a Reforms Bill 2018 in Parliament without input from the opposition and civil society.

The Bill seeks to establish a Reforms Commission which will have authority to kick-start the reforms. The government says it will go ahead with the reforms, with or without the opposition, if it does not want to participate.

Mochoboroane, whose MEC has six seats in parliament, says his party does not support either the ruling or opposition parties “but what is right irrespective of whether it comes from the ruling or the opposing side”.

“We want to have our own opinions without consulting any other party and we do not want to be swallowed by other political parties,” Mochoboroane said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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