Crisis not benefiting anyone



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THE heartrending story of Corporal Ngoliso Majara’s ordeal, published elsewhere in this edition, highlights the urgent need for a resolution to Lesotho’s perennial crises.

Corporal Majara was maimed and disfigured in a gun battle with his Lesotho Defence Force colleagues near the Royal Palace in February. The shootout claimed the life of private security guard, Mohau Qobete (37), who was on duty at the nearby Ministry of Education and Training head-office. It also seriously injured Corporal Majara’s colleague, Major Mojalefa Mosakeng with the two ferried to a Bloemfontein hospital.

The LDF thereafter issued a statement claiming the wounded men had attacked their personnel on guard duty at the offices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission after refusing to stop at a check point.

We will not dwell on who is right or wrong on this issue since it is a matter of conjecture. Suffice to say that it is yet another regrettable chapter in our country’s history.

The shootout adds to the list of many unsavoury events that have occurred in Lesotho in recent years that have ensured the Mountain Kingdom is continually regarded as an unstable nation. This nation has become a consistent feature on successive SADC summits, with no end in sight. Amid the seeming tranquility that pervades this nation, the spectre of unexpected outbreaks of violence threatens to undo the progress this country has made.

Corporal Majara’s injuries and plight highlight the urgent need for the political gladiators to map a way for national rapprochement. Only through meaningful dialogue can this nation extricate itself from the figurative abyss and join the community of nations as an equal member.

Our challenges are not insurmountable. After all, Lesotho is a uniquely homogenous nation, and we are all one people. It is unlike countries like South Africa during apartheid where the interests of various races and tribes were in contention.

Those who were compelled to leave their loved ones and the comfort of their homes should not be dismissed by the government. Of course, exceptions should apply to those who left after committing acts.

Lesotho’s future as a prosperous and peaceful nation hangs on the decisions leaders make across the political divide. There is a need for serious soul-searching among our leaders about the legacy they are creating. Otherwise, we risk persisting in a state of dysfunction and not attaining our full potential to flourish and prosper as a nation.

Unfortunately for the political contenders, Lesotho is the biggest loser in the melee. From a foreign direct investment perspective, Lesotho remains unattractive because of the perception of instability. Lesotho has benefited immensely from periods of peace by attracting foreign investors, whose businesses offer our people the much-needed employment that the government has continually failed to provide.

A stable government will go a long way in creating goodwill with the international community from whom Lesotho still needs a lot of material and technical assistance to extricate itself from the grinding poverty the majority remain under.

Because of the instability that continues to dog this nation, Lesotho was passed over for the second year in a row in leading SADC’s premier body in charge of regional security, the Organ for Politics, Defence and Security. There cannot be any winner from this situation as Lesotho continues to lose its standing in the region and beyond.

The talks being held by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his predecessor, Thomas Thabane away from the public glare can only be commended.

As elder statesmen, they should also consider the legacy they leave behind at this critical juncture in their careers and ensure that personal interests do not get in the way of posterity.

Politically, they both have a lot riding on these talks and need to be sincere to ensure that incidents such as the shooting of Corporal Majara become a thing of the past.

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