AHEAD of the 28 February 2015 general elections, the promise of stability was one of the main selling points for politicians vying to lead the country. It was, and still is, an important component in informing the electorate’s decision on who to vote for.
Basotho are after all inherently a peace-loving people who aspire for a stable environment in which they can tackle more pertinent challenges such as poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
While the security challenges Lesotho experienced in the preceding years cannot be compared to the onslaught by Boko Haram in Nigeria or the Anti-balaka militias in the Central African Republic (CAR), they have been major enough to warrant the intervention of Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Lesotho earned itself the ignoble tag of the region’s problem child and resultantly forfeited the highly anticipated SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation chairmanship last August.
It also resulted in the regional bloc dictating the modus operandi of government in preparation for the snap National Assembly polls.
And before handing over the reins back to the coalition government after the elections in March, Sadc was unequivocal in its expectations; lasting political stability, where the military keeps its place in the barracks, the opposition in parliament and not on the streets and the government in power abiding by the tenets of the constitution and the laws of the land.
However, as recent unsavoury events have shown, the eerie spectre of instability continues to rear its ugly head despite Lesotho supposedly charting a new course. Lest the seven party coalition government forgets, ensuring stability is paramount since the loss thereof usually results in a slippery slope.
The chaos currently engulfing the police in which the top cop position is in contention, along with a plethora of transfers and firings, does not augur well for fostering a climate of stability. While it is the prerogative of the powers that be in the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) to hire and fire as they please, they can be no denying the political undertones of the melee.
This state of affairs becomes all the more disconcerting considering the LMPS are yet to make headway (at the time of going to press) in apprehending those responsible for the murder of businessman Thabiso Tšosane who was shot dead by an unknown assailant earlier this month and the break in at the house of Ministry of Police Principal Secretary Refiloe Matekane.
Mr Matekane, who was previously under around-the-clock LMPS protection last week told the Lesotho Times he would hire private security.
These attacks and the continued detention of a Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Lance Corporal despite the High Court ordering his release create needless apprehension in the citizenry.
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The opposition has already adopted a siege mentality following the attacks with some ill-advised legislators threatening to revenge Mr Tšosane’s killing. Such utterances can only be condemned by all progressive Basotho since there is nothing to be gained in citizens taking the law into their own hands.
We call for restraint and levelheadedness from all stakeholders involved to ensure peace and tranquility reign in this our beloved Kingdom.
Ultimately, it behooves the government to reassure all Basotho, regardless of political persuasion, that there is no purge against members of the erstwhile government.
Because of the instability of the past years, Lesotho has stagnated, and in some cases regressed, in its travel and tourism global rankings as well as its performance on the Doing Business index as revealed by a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report.
Lesotho owes it to the goodwill shown by SADC and the rest of the international community to stay the course on the path of political stability and economic development.
Khotso, Pula, Nala!