Opposition agree on security forces

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Oppossition Leaders signing agreement

Pascalinah Kabi

POLITICAL parties in the proposed government of national unity (GNU) want relevant parliamentary committees to take charge of appointments and promotions in the security services to foster transparency and ensure they serve national rather than sectarian interests.

If it comes to fruition, the GNU will be made up of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) parties and they could take over the reins in the aftermath of the vote of no confidence that was carried yesterday in parliament against the current seven parties’ coalition government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

The four parties have at least 74 parliamentary seats after Monyane Moleleki, a former Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader jumped ship in December 2016 and brought his new AD party into an alliance with the then tripartite opposition bloc.

The DC is led by Dr Mosisili.

And on Tuesday, Mr Moleleki and ABC leader, Thomas Thabane signed a coalition agreement which seeks among other things, to address the root problems that have plagued coalition governments since the first one was formed in 2012.

The latest agreement states that the two failed coalition governments showed that parties that those parties that had solid support of the security agencies used that to undermine the governments, leading ultimately to their collapse.

Lesotho entered into its first coalition government in 2012 when former Prime Minister Thabane’s former party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP) signed a coalition agreement after the 2012 general elections had produced a hung parliament.

The Thabane-led government however collapsed in 2014 after his relationship with his then deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing went sour forcing Dr Thabane to prorogue parliament in a bid to dodge a vote of no confidence.

As a result, the country went for a snap election in 2015 which yielded the current seven parties’ coalition government led by Prime Minister Mosisili.

The Mosisili-led government is however facing collapse after splits within his DC party led to the birth of the AD, as well as in the coalition partner LCD which led to the formation of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) led by former LCD secretary general, Selibe Mochoboroane.

The Thabane-Moleleki agreement also noted that the political environment in Lesotho had been poisoned by deep mistrust among political leaders.

“The government, the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister commit to working in good faith and always seek to cultivate the spirit of consensus and cordial relations between all the parties in the government of national unity,” reads part of the agreement.

They agreed that as part of measures of preventing the politicisation of the security agencies and the public service, “all future appointments and promotions in the security services will be handled transparently by the relevant committee of parliament undertaking necessary due diligence before the appointments and promotions can be effected”.

“Lesotho’s post-independence governance is replete with the politicisation of the security agencies and their constant interference in democratic rule.

“The GNU shall undertake security sector reform to ensure that security services are professional, non-partisan and are subject to civilian control and appropriate oversight at all times,” reads part of the agreement.

The agreement noted that Lesotho’s institutions of democracy were weak and subject to manipulation by the executive and as such, “the coalition government undertakes to radically reform Lesotho’s political and constitutional architecture in the shortest time possible”.

“The coalition government undertakes to establish, at the earliest time permissible, an independent inclusive forum to develop and enact the reforms necessary to deepen democracy, rule of law, peace and stability. The forum will include all political parties in parliament and civil society.”

Meanwhile, the two politicians said their government would move to promptly restore trust and build confidence by expediting the implementation of all outstanding recommendations of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Commission led by retired Botswana judge, Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi that were aimed at ensuring stability and the rule of law in the country.

The leaders also agreed to work to limit the abuse of public office by strengthening the investigative and judicial offices and promptly implementing a revamped policy of declaration of assets and interests within 90 days.

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