The Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) is calling for a Government of National Unity (GNU) comprising all the major political parties “in order to preserve peace and stability” in the country.
Addressing a press conference in Maseru on Monday this week, PFD leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, said only an all-inclusive GNU could end the political insecurity currently prevailing in Lesotho.
Lesotho’s political situation has become cause for concern among many Basotho, as well as the donor and diplomatic community, since some opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) initiated moves to pass a no-confidence vote in the coalition government in March this year.
The MPs were accusing the government, comprising of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP), of misrule but the proposed motion is now in limbo after some MPs challenged its legitimacy before the courts of law.
Following the motion — and the recent fallout between the LCD and ABC over Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s alleged failure to consult his other principals when making key government decisions — the premier prorogued (suspended) parliament for nine months on 11 June during which he hopes the differences among the parties would have been resolved.
However, according to Advocate Rakuoane, only a government consisting of all the country’s major political parties could guarantee lasting peace in Lesotho.
“On 11 June 2014, the prime minister secured prorogation of parliament from His Majesty. The same day, the LCD, which is in a coalition government with Dr Thabane’s ABC and BNP, announced its marriage with the opposition DC, the effect of which has now been revealed is for the two parties to form a coalition government of their own.
“The two parties, together with a retinue of smaller parties, now lay a claim on government on the grounds that Dr Thabane has lost the majority in the National Assembly.
“These developments bring to a head, the discord that had been simmering in the three-party government, which has now burst into the open.
“Already alive to the fermenting instability, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) dispatched President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia to Maseru (last week) to assess the situation and urge the protagonists within the present coalition government to make peace.
“However, the PFD leadership met on 15 June to assess the situation and made a number of resolutions,” said Advocate Rakuoane.
And among the recommendations suggested by the PFD is the formation of a GNU.
“The on-going crisis can only be resolved through an all-inclusive GNU, but with emphasis on the preservation of the current coalition government as a foundation.
“But ways must be found to broaden it in order to bring on board, other key players currently outside
government,” Advocate Rakuoane said.
The principal purpose of the GNU, he added, “should be to take the country to the general election in 2017 and carry out constitutional and institutional reforms in key public institutions such as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), Ombudsman, Director Public Prosecutions, Attorney General and judiciary”.
“The GNU should ensure these public officers are adequately empowered with resources and authority to act independently and that they are shielded from abuse by politicians who have, up to now, used their appointments to advance patronage and parochial agendas,” Advocate Rakuoane said.
“The PFD is of the firm opinion that short of resolving and reconciling the current diametrically opposed constitutional/legal legitimacy, on the one hand and political legitimacy on the other, the country may not be able to break out of the current impasse, with its grave implications to plunge it into an abyss of unimaginable proportions.”
He added: “At crisis is not only the ABC, LCD and BNP government but the country as well, which has been thrust into a political and institutional crisis that threatens instability and potential disintegration.”