Reforms back on track

Reforms back on track

Coalition government, opposition smoke peace pipe……….

MASERU – SADC Facilitator, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, says the government and opposition parties have finally agreed to continue with the reforms even in the absence of Mothetjoa Metsing.
Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), has been holed up in South Africa for more than a year since fleeing the country after alleging that his life was in danger.
The opposition has been refusing to participate in the reforms until Metsing and other exiled leaders and officials return home.
But Justice Moseneke says that impasse has been broken, paving way for dialogue that has been mired in delays as the parties quarreled.
The agreement was signed at a press conference yesterday by the Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki, for the government, and Mathibeli Mokhothu, for the opposition.
The agreement put the reforms process back on track after months of squabbling. Justice Moseneke said the parties unequivocally committed themselves to the declaration of the National Leaders Forum.

He said the parties affirmed the composition of the National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) and confirmed that it would be the vehicle to prepare for the National Dialogue.
He also said the current terms of reference of the NDPC for the implementation of the multi-stakeholders’ National Dialogue and any agreed amendments should be the framework that binds all parties.
Justice Moseneke appealed to the government of Lesotho to respect and comply with all court orders and the rule of law and “to uphold the independence of the judiciary and continue to be the custodian of the law”.

The parties have agreed to have a National Leaders’ Forum in the first week of November 2018.
The forum will consider the recommendations of the NDPC on the thematic areas, the nature of participation in the thematic areas of the dialogue and the duration of the dialogue.
Justice Moseneke said the parties have agreed to avoid making public statements that erode the credibility or integrity of the reform process.

“The parties unequivocally affirmed their respect for the integrity and honesty of the facilitation team and its leaders for the work done by the facilitation team on behalf of SADC and also the role and responsibility of SADC Preventive Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL) and the SADC Oversight Committee,” Justice Moseneke said.
He said the government agreed to coordinate resources availed by the United Nations Development Programme, the European Union and government to support fully the work of the NDPC and the National Dialogue process.

“The parties have agreed to participate fully in this process and in the utmost good faith until the completion of the reform process,” he added.
Justice Moseneke also said the government of Lesotho should ensure the safety of all citizens in exile and must provide adequate security for Metsing and other similar placed exiled.
“Metsing and other similar placed persons in exile would not be subjected to any pending criminal proceedings during the dialogue and reforms process,” he said.
“They further undertook to persuade Metsing to return to Lesotho no later than the commencement of the National Dialogue,” he said.
But he said even if Metsing does not come, the national reform process would continue.

The facilitator also said the government of Lesotho has agreed that it would grant reasonable access to all inmates and would continue to respect human rights.
He said in order to resolve disputes the parties have agreed to create a dispute resolution mechanism comprising two representatives from each side.
If that mechanism fails, the retired judge said, the dispute would be referred to the leader of the facilitation team for mediation and resolution.
He said the government of Lesotho should issue a government gazette confirming the constitution of the NDPC and its terms of reference within 72 hours of the meeting of the NDPC on 16 October 2018.

He said the parties should create a mechanism within parliament in due course to process recommendations emanating from the National Dialogue for implementation.
Justice Moseneke said no party should make statements inciting violence or a threat of violence or threaten the security of the state or the inhabitants of Lesotho.
He said the coalition of opposition parties have presented the government of Lesotho with a list of persons who are alleged to have died in police custody.
“The government of Lesotho has undertaken to investigate and report to the coalition of opposition parties in due course,” he added.

He further said the coalition of opposition parties have raised their concern with the government of Lesotho relating to MoAfrika FM, a privately owned radio station.
The radio station has had incessant fights with the government which even landed in courts.

The radio station alleges that the government has cut coverage in some places in the country.
In response to the accusation, the government says “this is due to expansion of the transmission infrastructure, the government trusts that the expansion project would be completed as soon as possible and would report to the coalition of the opposition parties”.
Motlalentoa Letsosa, Democratic Congress chairman, said Metsing is prepared to come back provided the government meets his conditions.

Nkheli Liphoto

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