The Commonwealth Expert Adviser to Lesotho, Dr Rajen Prasad, has submitted his recommendations to the coalition government, which he believes can take Lesotho out of its current predicament.
Government’s three parties, namely the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP), have declared a truce while various stakeholders seek a permanent solution to their impasse, which almost saw Thomas Thabane’s premiership come to a premature end last month.
It has since emerged that the LCD is the black sheep in the tripartite alliance after the party openly challenged ABC leader, Thomas Thabane’s leadership style, particularly his alleged failure to consult his fellow principals when making crucial decisions with a bearing on good governance. The LCD, which is led by Deputy Prime Minister Methetjoa Metsing, showed its determination to ensure the party receives equal recognition in government with a spirited defence of its stance during a meeting the alliance’s National Executive Committees held at State House on Monday this week, as reported elsewhere in this issue.
However, the Commonwealth report submitted to the three ruling parties by Dr Prasad last week, present the feuding partners with an opportunity to iron out their differences once and for all, and without any of the leaders losing face.
In addition, Dr Prasad’s recommendations provide guidelines for future coalition governments, which would ensure Lesotho does not find herself in a similar, power-struggle predicament ever again.
According to the report, the recommendations are the result of New Zealand’s own experience under very successful coalition governments, as well as input from various Lesotho stakeholders.
What probably makes the recommendations even more suited to the Lesotho situation is the fact that the 25-member delegation of local politicians, senior civil servants and civil society representatives, as well as a member of the clergy, which visited New Zealand early this month, made valuable contributions in the compilation of the report.
In his recommendations, Dr Prasad makes it clear that selectively adopting the report when amending the Coalition Agreement on which the coalition government was founded in June 2012, would be folly for the alliance.
“It is the Commonwealth Expert Adviser’s view that addressing only some of the recommended changes will not produce the sustainable change that various stakeholders have informed the Commonwealth team is required in Lesotho. Together, there is every chance that sufficient momentum will be gained to give citizens confidence in their governments and will enable governments to focus on those things that could lift Lesotho from the group of least-developed nations. The programme suggested here depends on strong leadership that is focused on doing what is best for the country and nothing else. The Commonwealth Advisers believe that Lesotho has the potential to become a leading example of participatory democracy in Africa, and through this, progress prosperity for its two million citizens,” reads an excerpt from the report.
It is this reminder that the report is not for the benefit of the leaders of the BNP, LCD and ABC but the whole country as only a functional democracy can ensure the economic wellbeing of the entire Basotho nation.
The report also makes it clear that it would be the guiding document for coalition governments that will come well after the current ABC/LCD/BNP alliance is but a distant memory.
It is this larger picture that the leadership of these three parties should consider as they enter this decisive phase of their negotiations for reconciliation talks, which would involve amending their original Coalition Agreement, as well as setting the ground rules for the establishment of multiparty governments in future.
Lesotho’s future lies in the hands of the leaders of these three parties, which is why we urge them to remember that theirs is a big responsibility which calls for a sober, selfless and mature leadership.