PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has called on Basotho and other stakeholders to “actively and robustly” participate in the Lesotho Reforms Programme, saying it “is the only route” to bring about national unity.
In his keynote address to launch the programme in Maseru this week, Dr Mosisili said the participation of all stakeholders was imperative since the reforms covered constitutional, parliamentary and security issues among others.
The reforms were among the recommendations made by the Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi-led SADC Commission of Inquiry into Lesotho’s instability.
The inquiry, which was launched following the killing of former Lesotho Defence Force commander Maaparankoe Mahao by his army colleagues on 25 June last year, was held between 31 August and 23 October 2015.
The regional bloc also established an Oversight Committee to monitor the implementation of SADC decisions regarding the political and security situation in Lesotho. The committee was also tasked with providing assistance in the implementation of constitutional, security and public sector reforms in Lesotho.
The launch was attended by, SADC Oversight Committee Chairperson Justice Frederick Mwita Werema, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and representatives of development partners as well as international agencies among others.
Dr Mosisili said the Lesotho Reform Programme was of monumental significance in the country’s history and national development.
“It is a departure from dealing with the usual pressing problems and constant source of concern like hunger, poverty, incurable diseases, unemployment and rising statistics of crime, as indeed these are just symptoms of the institutional flaws that characterise the foundations of our system of governance,” he said.
“The obvious example of the institutional flaws is our national constitution which falls far short of contemporary requirements of governance and has in the past failed to respond to the challenges of constitutional impasse; paralysis in the smooth running of parliament; failure of service delivery in our courts of law and other branches of government, as well as lack of clarity regarding jurisdictional responsibilities and operational complementarities between and among key security institutions such as the army, police, national intelligence service and correctional service.”
He said the reform programme would entail the refining of Lesotho’s mixed member proportional representation electoral system “. . . to allow for greater representation of political parties and more importantly, greater accountability of Parliament to the people”.
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Coalition governments, the premier said, would also be included in the reforming of the constitution.
“The constitution will be crafted in a way that will regulate the formation of coalition governments in a manner that ensures peace and stability and above all, respect for the will of the people.”
He said to ensure the reforms programme is executed properly, government delegated Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing to oversee a ministerial committee on the reforms. Dr Mosisili said Government Secretary Lebohang Ramohlanka would head a principal secretaries committee while a Lesotho Reforms Programme Secretariat would oversee the day-to-day activities.
Dr Mosisili said the government was also preparing for a multi-stakeholder consultative conference scheduled for the beginning of next month to examine the reforms programme roadmap submitted to the to the 36th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State held in Swaziland in August this year.
Among others, the roadmap stipulated the exit of Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli from the helm of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF). Lt-Gen Kamoli last Thursday relinquished command of the LDF and handed it over to his deputy who is now Lt-Gen Khoantle Motšomotšo.
Dr Mosisili also invited Basotho and other stakeholders to participate in the reforms programme.
“I therefore, in all honesty and without malice to anybody, invite you all, fellow citizens, to actively and robustly participate in this national endeavour,” he said.
“I extend a similar invitation to international organisations, including regional body the SADC, the African Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations to provide the requisite technical and financial support to this initiative.
“We are truly committed to the reform programme as the only route to take if indeed we desire to realize our agenda for national unity in this Kingdom.”
For his part, Justice Werema emphasised the need for the Lesotho Reforms Programme to be inclusive of all stakeholders.
He also urged the government to ensure that no one is left behind in the programme, including women and girls.