THE Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship is set to lead the establishment of the Lesotho Association of Land Authority (LALA) with the help of Botswana Association of Land Authority (BALA) in partnership with the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa).
This emerged during a two-day Peer Learning Dialogue Partnership workshop held in Maseru recently.
Speaking at the workshop, the Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship, Habofanoe Lehana said the meeting was crucial as it brought together all the local government councillors to discuss and contribute to the formation of the Land Authority. Lesotho, he explained, was one of the few countries in Africa which was losing benefits that came with the establishment of a Land Authority.
He said Lesotho welcomed the steps taken to establish the Land Authority as this would improve management and utilisation of land and contribute to the acceleration of growth.
“I believe LALA will do a lot to help boost the economy and importantly to bring together stakeholders critical in the proper administration on land and to enrich the role of the local government,” Mr Lehana said.
He further explained that the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa) was implementing a programme intended to support the setting up and empowerment of national associations of local governments and of individual governments to deliver on their mandates; and to engage into structured dialogues with central governments and others pertinent stakeholders.
“In the past, there were several attempts to establish a local government national association but due to some challenges, the goal of those initiatives was not achieved.
“It is against this backdrop that we acknowledge the presence of UCLG-Africa to help us establish the national association of local government and we will commit to the establishment of such initiative in addition to the Land Authority,” Mr Lehana said.
He further explained that the local government association is not a trade union but a partner that works directly with the government to address issues that hinder the development of the country.
The organisation is mandated to bring together different local government councillors to push for the implementation of various development programmes.
Also speaking at the workshop, the President of the National Association of Local Authorities in Botswana, Reverend Mpho Marumo, said they were honoured to be part of a team that would facilitate the establishment of Lesotho Association of Local Authorities.
He explained they were requested by the UCLG-Africa to help Lesotho establish the association as this was the backbone of all activities aiming to ensure sustained progress in economic and social development.
“We are aware that Lesotho has good policies that outline and advocate for development, including in the areas of local government; what needs to be strengthened is the implementation of those policies through the participation of all Basotho and other crucial actors,” Rev Marumo said.
He said it was important for Basotho to champion their own governance. “This is because Basotho know what they need and with good coordination, they can own programmes, leading to their full participation and commitment in the creation of a Lesotho they want,” Rev Marumo said.
The UCLG-AFRICA is an umbrella organization and a united voice that represents all local governments in Africa. Its mission is to promote decentralization of services in Africa through local governments to support improvement of communities.
It seeks to enhance efficiency in the operations of African local governments to help achieve a transformation that is relevant to Africa and responsive to the needs, including addressing poverty and ensure ease of access to the services that people need for good health and creation of wealth.
The organization is also a platform that has become a centre for knowledge sharing and exchange programmes for countries to learn and adopt best practices that can help realistically address complex challenges triggered by conditions such as climate change and poor governance.
UCLG-AFRICA believes that solutions to Africa’s challenges lie in the ideas by Africans who have a good understanding of the people, needs, strengths and resources. What is missing is how to tap into the millions of ideas, pool them together through platforms such as UCLG-AFRICA and create mechanisms to actualize them and help transform the continent from “Africa of Nations” to “Africa of People”.