Moleleki pushes GNU

Moleleki pushes GNU

MASERU – DEPUTY Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki has called for the setting up of a government of national unity.
Moleleki, who is the leader of the Alliance of Democrats (AD), a junior partner in the coalition government, made the remark at a party meeting last weekend.

The meeting preceded Moleleki’s birthday party which he held with the Leribe constituencies on Saturday.
Moleleki turned 67. The constituencies had asked Moleleki to address them on several issues about the state of the nation and the direction the party was taking on Friday while the birthday celebration was held the following day.

The surprise call for a government of national unity comes six months after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane romped to victory in an election that produced no clear winner. Thabane quickly cobbled a coalition government with the AD and two other smaller parties, the Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

Addressing delegates at the meeting at the weekend, Moleleki said Lesotho is not ready to continue with the system of governance that splits ruling and opposition parties. Moleleki says he believes all parties with seats in parliament should be allowed to form a government that will have no opposition, a proposal that could allow the government to run without checks and balances.

“If there is a winner, there will also be the winner’s brother who will be called a loser,” Moleleki said. “We will not reap any benefits in that,” he said. “I say Lesotho as a country, not the AD party, is not yet ready to have what is called the ruling and the opposition.”
Moleleki said if his call is not heeded, the animosity between ruling and opposition parties will never come to an end.
He said if this is not addressed there shall “always be those who are running away”.

Thabane, Public Service Minister Thesele ’Maseribane and Labour Minister Keketso Rantšo, who were all still in the opposition, fled Lesotho in 2015 claiming that their lives were in danger. The three said elements within the Lesotho Defence Force were plotting to assassinate them. They only came back into Lesotho following mediation by SADC. Moleleki later fell out with his boss in the Democratic Congress (DC), Pakalitha Mosisili. He then teamed up with Thabane, ’Maseribane and Rantšo to form the current coalition government.

“I cannot always cross the border to fetch the exiles,” Moleleki said. He said history had taught him that stability can only be achieved when the people are not divided between ruling and opposition parties. Moleleki’s comments come at a time when the government is frantically battling to persuade three opposition leaders who fled Lesotho late last year to come back home.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), together with his deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi fled the country last year claiming their lives were in danger. They were also joined in exile by Mathibeli Mokhothu, the deputy leader of the DC.
Mokhosi, a former defence minister, fled after claiming he had been tortured for his alleged involvement in the killing of a police constable Mokalekale Khetheng.

He denies the charges. Mokhosi claims he was severely tortured while in police custody. Mokhothu said he fled after he was tipped off that he was going to be abducted and murdered. The government is under pressure from SADC to facilitate the trio’s safe return to Lesotho so that they can participate in the SADC-driven reforms. The reforms were recommended by SADC as a means to stabilise the country.

Lesotho has experienced bouts of political instability since independence from the British in 1966. The political turbulence surged in August 2014 after the then army commander Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli attacked State House in what the Thabane-led government said was an attempted coup.
Lt Gen Kamoli, who has denied attempting a coup, is now in detention facing a battery of charges related to the events of 2014.
Mokhothu told a local radio station on Monday that he welcomed Moleleki’s call.

“We need a truth and reconciliation commission because ever since independence we have never enjoyed peaceful co-existence as parties,” he said.
“It is high time that Basotho as a nation lick their own wound and be healed.”

Staff Reporter

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