THE coalition of opposition parties yesterday said Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was leading a “transitional government” whose primary mandate was to lead the country through the multisectoral reforms process and prepare for elections soon afterwards.
A transitional government is explained as an emergency authority set up to manage a political transition, generally in the cases of new nations or following the collapse of the previous governing administration.
They maintain power until a new government can come into place via the normal political process, which is generally an election.
And yesterday, the opposition said that the multisectoral reforms process would have a significant impact on the foundation of governments established under the present laws, making the Thabane regime a transitional one that would usher the country into elections soon after the completion of the reforms.
Addressing the media yesterday, the coalition warned the government against appointing individuals to critical positions such as the heads of the security sectors and judiciary on a permanent basis. They said doing so would cost the country millions of maloti to remove those individuals from such positions after the reforms.
Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader Lekhetho Rakuoane said it was vital for the government to stop appointing individuals on a permanent basis because their appointments could be annulled after the reforms.
“The government must stop making appointments that are permanent especially on critical positions like heads of security sectors and the judiciary because this is just a transitional government,” Adv Rakuoane said.
“You might find that at end of the reforms process, the laws that facilitated the appointments to such positions have been annulled and we would have to release such individuals. They would have contracts and it will cost government a lot of money to buy them out of contracts,” he said.
On his part, National Independent Party (NIP) leader Kimetso Mathaba said that a reforms process will have a huge impact on the present laws governing the formation of governments.
“This government is only taking us through this reforms process and once we are done with the reforms process, it (transitional government) will usher us into elections so that Basotho can elect a substantive government that will be formed and function under the new laws born out of the reforms process,” Mr Mathaba said.
The government spokesperson, Nthakeng Selinyane, yesterday refused to comment.
Further attempts to get a comment the acting Prime Minister, Monyane Moleleki were futile as his mobile phone rang unanswered. Communications, Science and Technology Minister, Thesele Maseribane’s phone also rang unanswered.
The briefing was held to address the media on the decisions of a Tuesday meeting which the opposition leaders held with exiled Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing, his deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi and Socialist Revolutionaries leader Teboho Mojapela in Ladybrand.
At that meeting, the opposition agreed that Mr Metsing would return home before the second National Leaders’ Forum scheduled for the first week of next month. The actual date of his return is however, still to be established.
The meeting, also attended by Democratic Congress (DC) leader and former premier Pakalitha Mosisili, was held on the back of a recent memorandum of understanding between the government and the opposition under the facilitation of the South African Development Community (SADC) facilitator to Lesotho, Retired Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The opposition undertook to “convey the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho’s undertaking to Mr Metsing and other persons in exile. They further undertake to persuade Mr Metsing to return to the Kingdom of Lesotho no later than the commencement of the National Leaders Forum” scheduled for first week of November 2018.
On its part, government committed to “ensure the security of all citizens in exile and must provide adequate security” for Mr Metsing.
The government also agreed to suspend any pending criminal investigations against exiled leaders like Mr Metsing in the duration of the reforms while the opposition pledged to convey the government’s position and persuade Mr Metsing to return home for the reforms.
Mr Metsing has been holed up in South Africa since fleeing Lesotho last August citing an alleged plot to assassinate him. The government has nevertheless refuted his claims, insisting that he fled to escape prosecution for corruption.