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PR seats talks put on hold

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU –– The talks to resolve the dispute between government and the opposition over proportional representation seats were postponed yesterday after the mediator said he wanted more time to analyse the issue.

The talks, being facilitated by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), were supposed to resume yesterday after the parties agreed on the ground rules and the agenda at the initial meeting at UN House last Wednesday.

The talks which are being chaired by retired bishop of the Anglican Church of Lesotho, Phillip Mokuku, were moved to next Wednesday.

CCL spokesperson Peter Potjo told the Lesotho Times that the talks had been postponed to give Mokuku more time to analyse and familiarise himself with the correspondence that has been flying back and forth between the quarrelling parties. 

Potjo said another reason for the postponement was that the government already had other commitments.

Prior to that, the stakeholders held a meeting where a decision to hold talks was made.

“The talks had to be postponed because the Bishop (Mokuku) said he needed some time to study the correspondence between the disagreeing parties,” Potjo said.

“He needed to understand things clearly so that when issues such as the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) court case are raised he would not find himself at a loss.

“It is understandable that he would not help them reach any agreement unless he understood the nature of the dispute clearly.”

Potjo also said the government said it already had commitments this week but added that this was not the main reason why the indaba had been postponed.

The talks however seem headed for a brick-wall because both parties have clearly said they will not be shifting from their initial stance. 

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili told Lesotho Congress for Democracy supporters at a rally in Ha-Ntjabane in Teya-teyaneng on Sunday that the government will not shift from its stance on the issue of PR seats.

Mosisili insisted that the High Court had passed its ruling on the case.

The opposition says they expect the talks to influence the Independent Electoral Commission to re-allocate the seats.

The All Basotho Convention leadership told supporters at a rally on Sunday in Naleli they will not compromise on their initial demand that the seats be re-allocated.

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