Justice Moseneke jets in

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli/’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) facilitator to Lesotho, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, will today meet Deputy Prime Minister, Monyane Moleleki to discuss and inspect progress in the multi-sector reforms processes.

The Justice Moseneke-led SADC facilitation team – appointed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 June 2018 to facilitate and oversee the multi-sector reforms processes – is also a critical component in ensuring stability and timely completion of the reforms process in Lesotho.

SADC gave Lesotho until May 2019 to have fully implemented constitutional and security sector reforms.

The press attaché in the Prime Minister’s Office, Thabo Thakalekoala, said in a statement this week that Justice Moseneke and Mr Moleleki would meet and discuss “matters relating to the reforms”.

“Justice Moseneke will meet with government leaders among them, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki on behalf of the Prime Minister, who is not in the country at the moment,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

“The agenda of the meeting relates to the progress of the reforms. Justice Moseneke will also observe proceedings in the ongoing in-district community council consultations in the Qibing Community Council in Mafeteng.

“During his visit, he will meet with government leaders and proceed to Qibing Community Council in the Mafeteng district where he will officially endorse and oversee the in-district consultations; and observe the consultations in practice on Friday (tomorrow),” Mr Thakalekoala said.

The consultations are intended to ensure that Basotho, in their diverse formations, have a direct opportunity to be part of the dialogue process leading to the reforms.

The month-long in-district consultations are expected to end this month.

The reforms’ National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) member in the communications section, Boitumelo Koloi said the consultations were going on in all 10 districts where four sessions are held in each community council.

“The in-district consultations are an extension of the first plenary session of the Multi-Stakeholder National Dialogue that started last year. The progress has been good except in hard-to-reach areas where consultations are taking longer than planned. However, the discussions are expected to end timeously,” Mr Koloi said.

Meanwhile, youths from various organisations have accused the NDPC of side-lining them in the reforms process.

The youths said this during a press conference in Maseru this week.

Arbitrage Consultants Coordinator Kanono Thabane said the on-going in-district consultations are “failing to comply” with the principles as envisaged in the national reforms’ framework.

“Our concern relates to the systematic exclusion of young Basotho which is perpetuated by the weak design of the process of consultations. The adopted process is not inclusive in that it lacks transparency and accountability.

“The national reforms’ framework and roadmap stipulate that transparency and accountability are the guiding principles of the reforms process. However, this is not the case for majority of Basotho youths who are inherently the custodians but are not fully participating in the reforms process due to limited access to information regarding the reforms in Lesotho,” Mr Thabane said.

He also lamented that the youths are left in the cold as they are unaware of the scheduled times for the consultations while some of the times are “awkward” as some of the youths will be busy with their studies.

The youth blamed the NDPC for its “poor communication approach” which they said was not accommodating to the youths.

“A lot of youths reside outside the country but are willing to share ideas which can shape a better Lesotho. However, they are not able to participate in the reforms,” Mr Thabane said.

He said even if the same consultations were to be held during the weekends, the concept of gatherings would still not be enough to solicit the youths’ views and opinions on the reforms.

“The public gatherings which involve the entire community are not safe places for discussing issues facing young people like the legislating of safe abortions,” Mr Thabane said.

The youths have therefore pleaded with the NDPC to promote public education on reforms targeted at young people through online platforms like websites and social media which can be accessed at any time of day regardless of a person’s location so that they submit their opinions.

The executive coordinator of the Southern African Alliance on Youth Employment (SAAYE) Lesotho Chapter Tšepo Masupha said they have registered their concerns with the NDPC in the past but were never heard.

“We raised our concerns with the NDPC in writing but instead of them calling us for engagement to level the playing field, they resorted to going to some radio station, a move which we think was inappropriate and did not help us in any way.

“We can see that the NDPC is approaching the reforms process like a (personal) project and should this behaviour continue, we don’t see this process yielding the envisaged results,” Mr Masupha said.

However, Mr Koloi said the NDPC is operating within the confines of the national reforms’ framework.

“There is no way the NDPC can operate outside the national reforms framework therefore it is unfortunate that these accusations about side-lining the youths are being levelled against us.

“We have tried all that we can to accommodate the youths and provide information where there are no cost implications because the NDPC does not have a budget for all its operations.

“It is incorrect to say that we went to the radio to respond to their grievances. Instead, we only went to the media because the youths were talking about us and not to us,” Mr Koloi said.

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