How can the Reforms Process Begin in an All-inclusive and Transparent Manner

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for the Acquisition of Social Ownership?

AS we all know, the government has recently tabled the National Reforms Commission Bill, 2018 before parliament. The aim of the initiative is to establish a commission that will spearhead a national dialogue towards the implementation of multi-sector reforms.

The envisaged commission shall be composed of six commissioners and led by a retired judge who shall be the chairperson of the commission. For various reasons, this has raised serious concerns among some members of the public, politicians, philosophers and non-governmental organisations.

The common concern is based on the questionable initial step of the reforms process. It logically follows that, if the initial step is questionable, the destination of the process is also questionable. From the foregoing background, the following question is salient: How can the reforms process begin in an all-inclusive and transparent manner for the acquisition of social ownership? The question emanates from the observation that, if the reforms process is not all-inclusive and lacks social ownership, there could be more pain and suffering than happiness in Lesotho.

This is the challenge facing our government and society at this point. Looking around, it seems the answer to the above question is distant from our minds. However, there is a foundation in Lesotho that could be our beacon of light with the way-forward it has planned for Basotho. It is called BOTHOPELE Foundation, a Non-governmental Organization that was registered in Lesotho under the Societies Act in 2013 (Reg. Nō 2013/131). Its sole objective and purpose is to promote and emphasise the upholding of good moral behavior, social values and active patriotism amongst us as the Basotho nation. In answer to the ‘HOW’ question, this is what the foundation proposes:

The proposed plan for social transformation and multi-sector reforms process

First and foremost, BOTHOPELE Foundation fully agrees that the first step in the reforms journey is to hold a National Dialogue, but what should this dialogue be about, and what should it yield at the end of the day? This question is asked in full appreciation of the two dialogues that ensued last year in 2017, under the leadership of the Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) and the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) respectively.

From the foundation’s point of view, the inevitable National Dialogue that we need should be one that will be a platform for the entire Basotho Nation (living in and outside the country), through which they can (as they should) discuss together and share their different views on the kind of society and country they say they now want to become and uphold going forward, in terms of our morals, social values and economic dispensation as a people (BOTHO). To this end, strategies are in place that can allow for a wide-reaching public dialogue of this kind.

At the end, all the views and contributions that will come from the Basotho nation through this kind of a National Dialogue will be collected, analysed and mapped accordingly to then produce a National Transformation Charter and Code of Good Moral and Ethical Values.

It can only be following such kind of work and achievement that the government and l other stakeholders can then embark on meaningful multi-sector reforms as prescribed, because the reforms must be in line with and promote the desires of our people at large, as will have been articulated in the said National Transformation Charter.

Having said this, BOTHOPELE Foundation proposes that the multi-sector reforms and social transformation journey we so desperately need as Lesotho should happen over two consecutive phases, as following:

Phase I – This is where society can be mobilised to partake in the National Dialogue and stand as one behind its goal, which is to produce the National Transformation Charter and Code of Good Moral and Ethical Values – an instrument of intent on the kind of society and country we want to become as Lesotho. This is a work process that can take about 14 months to complete.

Phase II – This will be an on-going work process, wherein, the principal deliverable will be to develop and implement strategies and work programs that will ensure that the ideals of the National Transformation Charter and its Code of Good Moral and Ethical Values do become a living reality in our day-to-day life and works as the Basotho Nation.

Now, another important question to ask is who will do all this work for the people? Well, it has to be all of us together. Rather than set up a government-elected commission to lead this kind of work, let us rather have a National Steering Committee that will, in the spirit of inclusivity, be established with representation from all sectors of our society e.g. government, chiefs ( marena), the church, business, women and children organizations, youth organizations, etc.

This National Steering Committee will serve as the overseeing board over the intended work process, and will thus need an independent Non-governmental organization such as BOTHO PELE Foundation or any other, to serve as its secretariat that will be tasked with the day-to-day strategic planning, implementation and management of the work involved in the two Phases defined above.

In conclusion, two things will stand as paramount in encouragement of the successful achievement of the work process that is proposed by the Foundation. First, there must be on-going monitoring and evaluation of the process as it unfolds to make certain that we remain on course and that we succeed in realising the goals that are set for the journey. Secondly, there must also be means devised to ensure that the general public is kept abreast of the successes and challenges encountered in the journey, through a periodic reporting mechanism as shall be laid out and agreed upon.

This is what BOTHOPELE Foundation proposes. What does the public and its leaders think about all this?

A joint article by Monaheng Mahlatsi and Solly Mofoka for

BOTHOPELE Foundation

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