Consultative process for reforms

Consultative process for reforms

MASERU – –PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane says the first plenary national dialogue meeting had succeeded in identifying the challenges that trigger conflicts in Lesotho.
Key among those challenges were interference by politicians in the security sector, a weak economy and the media, Thabane said.
Thabane said the next step will be to consult the nation in the districts to find solutions to the problems.

He said the first plenary multi-stakeholders dialogue is just the beginning of a long journey of reforming the country.
The second plenary meeting will be held in February next year after consultations are done and all Basotho should be ready for consultations in their districts for the benefit of the nation.
The leader of the opposition in Parliament Mathibeli Mokhothu said during reforms process, Basotho should focus on building the Lesotho they want.
“I repeat, the Lesotho we want not the Lesotho that the political party wants or an individual. We should act collectively as a nation,” he said.

Mokhothu said Basotho should find common ground on issues of national interest and be able to get the truth on issues that affect “our country”.
He said unity is power therefore Basotho should work together rather than competing with each other so that the reforms process is accomplished with high degree of confidence.
It does not matter if you are a national or a congress all that matters is going forward, Mokhothu said.

He said there are two roads namely greatness and mediocrity, and greatness encompasses respect, tranquility and peace.
Mokhothu said in greatness, a leader has to stabilise the police and the army for the sake of security in the country, adding that both the army and police do not belong to politicians but Basotho.
“We need to have a stable and accountable government,” he said.

Meanwhile, ‘Mampiti Nchapi, a representative of the committee on constitutional reforms says the suspended 1966 Constitution should be reinstated.
Nchapi said this on the last day of the plenary of the multi-stakeholders’ National Dialogue yesterday.
She recommended that the 1966 Constitution should be re-instated and be part of the reforms.
And that the public interest law should be included in the Constitution.

Nchapi said the law governing the appointment of members of the Council of State and how the vote of no-confidence is carried out should be taken into consideration.
She argued that there has to be a body which will be responsible for the appointment and removal of people in the judiciary.
Nchapi said the coalition governments should be reviewed for three months after the election so that the government should be stable and be able to avoid floor-crossing of politicians and to do away with a culture of going to elections after every two years.

“We have suggested that Principal Secretaries should be chosen on merit and not political affiliations,” Nchapi said.
She also said the ministers should not be part of the parliamentarians so that there should be clear checks and balance of the executive and Parliament.
Nchapi also argued that the M500 000 loans for the Members of Parliament should be abolished.

It was at this meeting that the committee suggested that the conquered Basotho land should be included in the constitution.
On the part of the judiciary reforms, it was recommended that for the courts to operate in a good way, the High Court be located in south, central and north parts of the country so that people could cut the costs of travelling to Maseru.

The committee on judiciary reforms also recommended that there should be a body which will be responsible for disciplining of judges as they sometimes arrive late or postpone cases without explanations.

It also recommended that there should be training for judiciary institutions highlighting that the Constitutional Court should be separated from the High Court.
The committee was adamant that the justice sector should be isolated from politics and that the appointment of judges must be done by the judiciary.
From the media perspective, Thabe ‘Moso said the media should be free and not be restricted.

‘Moso said the Lesotho National Broadcasting Service (LNBS) should be independent and be supported by the public revenue not the Ministry of Communications like it is happening now.
And the LNBS should be run by men and women who are qualified and appointed based on their credentials not on political affiliations.
He said section 14 of the Constitution should be amended to cater for media freedom.

“The government should inform the public of issues that affect their daily operations. The frequencies, internet and towers should be given to privately owned companies,” he said.
‘Moso said women should be promoted and motivated within the media to keep them at the same level with men.
He said his advice is that the LNBS workers should be removed from the civil service and the Lesotho Communications Authority should be given power to be on its own and to report to the parliament.

‘Moso also added that there should be training schools for media to improve media practitioners.
He said it is important that the media personnel adhere to the Code of Conduct to avoid being harassed on the social media.

Itumeleng Khoete & Nkheli  Liphoto

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