Thakaso wants ‘unity government’

Thakaso wants ‘unity government’

Staff Reporter

MASERU – THE leader of a small opposition party, Whitehorse Party, Mohau Thakaso, has waded into the Lesotho political crisis. Thakaso says the solution to the current political impasse lies in the formation of a Government of National Unity (GNU) made up of politicians and technocrats that will be charged with implementing comprehensive political and legislative reforms within 12 to 18 months. Thereafter, the country should go for fresh elections to elect a new government with a mandate to haul the country from the mire. Below are excerpts of the interview:

What is your assessment of the current political situation in Lesotho?

The situation is quite disturbing. The current political infighting within the coalition government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili will not take this country anywhere.
It is quite sad because what has taken us into this mud is a fight over a tender, the Bidvest tender. This is a fight that is driven by greed.But as long our leaders concentrate on the Bidvest deal, the task to develop the country and curb unemployment and uphold the rule of law will remain unfulfilled. The infighting is hurting development.

How do we take Lesotho out of the current situation?

We need an honest leadership to be in charge of this country, a leadership that upholds its election manifestos. They must stick to their electoral promises and fight to end poverty and create jobs. It would also be critical that we introduce two-term limits for the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister should go for two terms only and that should be it. We also want leaders to declare their assets. We want to know how rich these leaders are before they assume office. This will keep corruption in check.

What do you want to see in the proposed reforms?

It is critical that these (political, legislative and civil service) reforms start ASAP. The reforms will curb the unnecessary fights we have seen over the years. The issue of term limits for the Prime Minister must also be included in the reforms. Our experiences in Africa clearly show that leaders want to hang on to power at all costs; they are afraid to vacate office and go home because of the terrible things they would have done to their people. They want to stay on because they do not subscribe to the rule of law. Term limits will ensure we renew our leadership at the political level.

What is your take on the proposed Government of National Unity in Lesotho?

I would go for a Government of National Unity (GNU) if it were to operate for a limited time, let’s say 12 to 18 months. During that time, the government, which would be run by technocrats, would take care of the constitutional reforms. Thereafter I believe it would be easy to rule this country because our constitution would have been fortified. At present, almost all political parties in Parliament are fighting within themselves. We need to fix our constitution. What has created the infighting is the fact that politics is the best form of employment in Lesotho. Everyone is looking to be employed in Parliament as an MP and earn a living, which is not sustainable.

What should be the way forward for Lesotho?

I am 100 percent behind Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s call for the country to focus on the reforms. If those reforms had started it would mean the issues at the centre of the infighting within the DC would have been looked into. The country must focus on the reforms. The DC, as the biggest partner in the coalition government, must sit down and resolve their issues. We don’t need a fighting DC. All parties should come up with strategies to rejuvenate this country based on the reforms. In our opinion, the reforms are the only way out for Lesotho. The reforms will address the politics, the problems in the judiciary and in our institutions such as the army.

Should the government offer a blanket amnesty to individuals accused of human rights abuses?

In our opinion the correct model would be to have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that is inclusive.Those accused of rights abuses should only be pardoned after full disclosure, as long as they have told their stories.
We want a united country. But there are others who think such individuals must face justice. Let’s give chance a peace. The judicial route where we would try in the courts of law suspects accused of rights abuses would be going in circles.

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