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Opposition makes U-turn on PR seats

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — Opposition parties yesterday made a stunning U-turn when they refused to endorse a report on progress over talks on proportional representation seats.

Apparently this is the same report that they amended on September 22 and agreed to endorse.

This is the second time that the opposition has refused to endorse the report prepared by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), which had been mediating in the dispute since late last year.

Early last month the opposition rejected the report that the CCL had presented to the Southern African Development Community leaders at a summit in Namibia saying it had omitted some of their salient points. 

The opposition said the report had been compiled without their consultation.

They also accused the CCL of rushing to brief the summit before they had analysed the report. 

Following the uproar a meeting between the opposition, government and other stakeholders was held on September 22 to discuss the report.

In that meeting amendments were made to the report and the opposition agreed to endorse it as a true reflection of what transpired during the dialogue.

But yesterday morning the opposition leaders had a change of heart about the new amendments and refused to endorse the report.

Sources who attended the meeting told the Lesotho Times that the opposition leaders felt that even the version of the report they had helped amend in September still lacked crucial details.

The new report contains the legal experts’ opinion that was sought by the CCL when it took over the mediation from Sadc emissary Sir Ketumile Masire. 

But sources say the opposition leaders are now demanding that the full legal opinion be included before they can endorse the report.

They are also demanding that the report that Masire issued on the dialogue last year be included in its entirety.

The opposition leaders were led in their defiance by the All Basotho Convention leader Thomas Thabane.

“Opposition parties would not even listen to the NGOs that had protested over their new demands. The NGOs said it was unfair that the opposition was now refusing to sign a report that they had amended last month,” the source who was in the meeting said.

 “They (opposition leaders) arrogantly asked the NGOs spokesperson what he knew about fairness,” he said.

Opposition parties’ spokesman, Majara Molapo, said he was not authorised to speak about what transpired in the meeting.

“It was agreed that it is only the CCL that is mandated to talk to the press about these meetings,” Molapo said.

Efforts to contact the CCL were not successful.

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