Ramaphosa pleads for dialogue

Ramaphosa pleads for dialogue

MASERU – SADC envoy Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday expressed hopes that the Post-Elections National Dialogue will mark the beginning of Lesotho’s recovery from conflict and instability. Speaking at the Post Elections National Dialogue in Maseru yesterday, Ramaphosa said Basotho must imitate the nation’s founder, Moshoeshoe I, if it is to have peace, stability and economic progress.

Moshoeshoe is known historically as a visionary leader who avoided unnecessary violence to the extent that he forgave cannibals who ate his grandfather. He is also known for pursuing peace with the enemies he had defeated, reasoning that perhaps they had attacked him because they were driven by poverty.

Ramaphosa reminded Basotho that the hallmarks of Moshoeshoe I’s reign were diplomacy and consensus-building.
Ramaphosa’s remarks come at a time when SADC has tasked him with mediating in Lesotho’s political crisis. The crisis has manifested itself through some disturbances in the army.

The instability reached its peak last month when army commander Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo was killed in his office.
The government said Motšomotšo was shot and killed by Brigadier Bulane Sechele. Colonel Tefo Hashatsi was also killed during the shoot-out.
Ramaphosa expressed his deepest condolences to the government of Lesotho, the family of the late Motšomotšo and those of the military officials who lost their lives last month.

“I also wish to express appreciation to all Basotho stakeholders for the support given to the Organ of Ministerial and Fact-Finding Mission that visited Lesotho earlier last month,” he said. Ramaphosa said this also extends to the support accorded to the Technical Assessment Mission deployed in Lesotho from September 24-28 this year.

He said the cooperation extended by the government of Lesotho, political parties, non-governmental organisations and the religious community enabled the missions to conduct their assignments. He said they commend all stakeholders for responding affirmatively to the urgent call by SADC for a shared vision in Lesotho on institutional reforms and the deepening of the rule of law.

Ramaphosa said the convening of a dialogue process crowns the involvement and intervention of SADC in recent months in efforts to guide Lesotho onto a new path.

He said the dialogue process provides an opportunity for everyone to put their views, to build bridges, and to forge trust.
Ramaphosa said the challenges of Lesotho like those in many other countries require a political solution that is informed by the wishes and dreams of the people of Lesotho themselves. “They require bold, courageous, and visionary leadership not only from politicians, but from the abundance of leaders found in civil society, labour, and business,” he said.

“They require the wisdom and contribution of leaders in our churches, traditional authorities, the arts as well as the media. They must be informed by the hopes and dreams of the poorest of the poor in this nation,” he said. He insisted that there must be an appreciation that Lesotho’s challenges are neither innate nor externally imposed.

“They can be resolved because, in the main, they are political and arise from conditions within the Kingdom,” he said.
He said encouraged the government of Lesotho to expedite the development of a comprehensive roadmap and the implementation of the SADC decisions.

A report on the progress will be presented to the SADC Double Troika Summit at the end of November this year
“We reiterate SADC’s commitment to working with the government and people of Lesotho in search of a lasting solution to the political and security challenges facing the country, much as this, pleasantly, is subsiding.”

“This is demonstrated by SADC’s decision to deploy an expanded Oversight Committee as well as the proposed Contingency Force, which was welcomed by the Prime Minister and his delegation at the last Double Troika Summit,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki said the dialogue is a build-up to the proposed and highly anticipated multi-stakeholders’ conference that is scheduled to take place on November 15, 16 and 17.

Moleleki said for the past four years, Lesotho has been in political turmoil which has been detrimental to peace of the nation while corruption and youth unemployment are high. Moleleki said the dialogue will help them see where they went wrong so that they can move forward as one family.

Majara Molupe

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