Limit role of politicians in reforms

Limit role of politicians in reforms

The ruling class in this country i.e. politicians inside and outside the government is not suitably qualified to lead us in the reforms process.
They lack conviction and motivation. This is demonstrated by how they went to the National Leaders Forum screaming and kicking. They went there because they were forced by SADC.
Because of this, they cannot be expected to do what is best for Lesotho. They will do “just enough” not to upset the regional body.
“Just enough” however, falls short of what is required to dig Lesotho out of the hole we have dug ourselves into. Conviction and commitment from those leading the process is required in bucket-loads. Current leaders as I have said, lack that.

The second reason they are unfit to lead the reforms is that they are responsible for the mess we are in. For as long as I can remember, there has been abuse of state power, a dysfunctional judiciary, poor service delivery, endemic corruption, cronyism, conflict, instability and many other ills.
No administration that has ruled this country – present and past – is above reproach. They are all guilty.
This shows that these ills, are not accidental. They are intended that way – to deliberately sustain the power, influence, status, and wealth of Lesotho’s ruling class. That’s how the system here works.

So, to expect that real solutions to undo this entire architecture will be found in the remaining few months before the SADC deadline is madness. It is not going to happen.
Especially because the process is being driven by the benefactors of the system we say needs to be changed.
This means that these much-talked-about reforms are not going to help much. A lot of what needs to be changed will not be changed. Only cosmetic changes will be made. Just enough to appease a meddling SADC.

We should therefore expect more of the same challenges we have had in the past well beyond the SADC intervention.
The public service will continue to be politicised. Security agencies will continue to be manipulated and interfered with by politicians. MPs will continue to form unholy alliances not based on shared values, beliefs and a common vision for the country.

The justice system will continue to selectively mete out justice. Internecine conflict and instability will not be defeated. The economy will continue to underperform.
For there to be true transformation, two conditions should exist. Both very difficult to establish.
Identifying and agreeing a set of common national values we all consider inalienable. In the same way that a house requires a solid foundation to stand, a country’s laws require guiding principles and norms to work effectively and as intended.

Without these, laws are not worth the paper they are written on.
We are influenced more by values than we are by rules. That’s one of the reasons that even the good elements in our existing constitution have failed.
They are not underpinned by good values – they are easy to circumvent because we have nothing to guide our conscience.
The second condition is difficult only because it requires honest reflection by politicians. It requires that they admit that it is them who are the source of our problems.
Therefore their participation must be limited. You can’t expect the thing that made you sick to be the same thing that subsequently cures you.
It does not work like that. We therefore need as few politicians as possible when charting the future.

I appreciate that these two conditions don’t have a snowballs’ chance in hell of happening. We need to accept that.
Notwithstanding this challenge, we must insist and push hard that a key outcome of the reforms process be a definition of our core values as a nation – our non-negotiable guiding principles.
These will help foster a spirit of nationhood which is missing today. This is more important than changing rules, regulations and laws. The reforms must not lose sight of this aspect.
Secondly, we should insist that all structures/ platforms etc dealing with reforms be dominated by non-politicians. This will go a long way to infuse the reforms with the true and diverse aspirations of Basotho.

Politicians should attend in the same way that individual groupings from civil society will be invited to attend – to represent their own interests and not to speak as representatives of the people.
To do differently is to award them a status they do not deserve. They are not more special. They are Basotho just like the rest of us. In fact, in most instances they are not our best face.
They are often our weakest link. They should not therefore be burdened with this big responsibility.
And besides, the reforms are way too important to delegate to others – especially to our breed of politicians. We must speak for ourselves.

BY: Poloko Khabele

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