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An open letter to SADC

by Lesotho Times
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Thulo Hoeane

I SELDOM write open letters but over the last month or so I have been deeply disturbed by what is going on around the reforms debate and the apparent determination of the opposition to do everything in their power to scupper the reforms. The writing is clearly on the wall and the print is bold.

Without saying it in so many words the agenda of the opposition is very clear. They will have nothing to do with the reforms and have no genuine interest in them. For them the reforms are only providing an opportunity out of which they can gain some cheap political mileage. Out of power and out of ideas the opposition will clutch at every straw to make themselves relevant within the wider scheme of our politics.

But above all I am convinced that there is a hidden agenda here which needs to be exposed for what it really is. The opposition plunged this country into chaos between 2015 and 2017. This is why in the first place we are where we are today. No matter how much they will deny it the reforms are on the national agenda courtesy of the misrule and anarchy unleashed on this country by what is now a fossilised seven party coalition.

Having plunged this country into that abyss Lesotho was only second to the Democratic Republic of Congo on the SADC agenda for all the wrong reasons. We became the bad boy of the region. We nearly lost out on exporting textiles to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) risking the loss of nearly 50 000 jobs in the textile industry. Scores of innocent people were maimed near fatally and many others were killed with impunity.

Under the seven party coalition the Lesotho Defence Force had degenerated into a rogue militia answerable to no one and in rare instances to some of its puppet masters in that government. That was what Lesotho had been reduced to. A lawless kangaroo state that no one in the sub – region took seriously just like the never ending crisis and chaos in the DRC. Today if the truth be told the sub- region and virtually the entire international community has all but given up on the DRC. Thus left to its own devices that mineral rich country has been reduced to a waste land. When the world gets to lose interest the door is left open for untold chaos.

I dare say that we were headed in that direction but as fate would have it the seven party coalition was ousted in a most emphatic manner. After the 3 June 2017 elections sanity has returned to this country. But we cannot go on as if it is business as usual. SADC is also in this with us. We must be seen to be moving away from the violent legacy of 2015 to 2017. There can be no turning back on the reforms. These reforms are a national priority and must be treated as such. Anybody who is seen to be in the way is an enemy of the people and must be treated as such.  We have had enough of these shenanigans. This is not a hide and seek game.

This is why I am writing this open letter to SADC. A case in point and a classic spanner thrown into the works by the opposition is the ludicrous pre – condition that people who have been involved in the commission of gruesome acts of criminality be released from custody. They claim that these people are being persecuted for their political beliefs and all the rest of that nonsense. Nothing could be more at variance with the truth. We all know and this goes for the opposition too that there is not a single political prisoner in this country. If there are any political prisoners in this country I urge them all to stand up and be counted.

What the jails are full of are people who once enjoyed impunity and non – accountability as they unleashed their reign of terror on the people. The tables have turned and they now find themselves at the wrong end of the stick of justice. As part of the reforms agenda we must relentlessly pursue the suspected criminals and if they are found guilty throw the book at them.

My message to SADC is a simple but chilling one.  The opposition wants to drag this country back to the old dark days. Additionally the opposition wants to make sure that SADC gets weary of intervening in this country to no avail. Having achieved that chaos will once again be the order of the day in this country. This must never be allowed to happen. This is why I urge SADC not to end the tenure of the preventative mission in November. Doing so will embolden the angels of doom and gloom because that is exactly what they are looking forward to. The process to prosecute the alleged suspects has not even begun and dare I say there are still some miscreants out there waiting to cause chaos and anarchy one SADC leaves prematurely.

We are way out of time with the implementation of the reforms and the buck stops with the opposition. Every step of the way they have been conspicuous by their desire to make sure that the government fails. On the other hand the government has always bent as far back as possible to accommodate them and bring them on board. But because they have a different agenda they are marching in the opposite direction.

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Lesotho’s widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. 

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