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Reforms authority hampered by financial challenges

by Lesotho Times
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Pascalinah Kabi

THE cash-strapped National Reforms Authority (NRA) is racing against time to source funds and engage five experts to assist the authority with producing constitutional, public service, parliamentary and security reforms proposals that meet international standards.

SADC and the government have agreed on an October 2021 deadline for the conclusion of the processes aimed at implementing the multi-sector reforms.

Addressing the media in Maseru this week, NRA chairperson, Pelele Letsoela, said they were yet to engage the five experts despite that only four months remain before the deadline for the completion of the reforms process.

Retired former South African Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke heads the SADC facilitation to Lesotho. The facilitation team is tasked with liaising with all stakeholders in Lesotho to ensure the successful implementation of the much-delayed multi-sector reforms.

Commenting on the issue this week, Mr Letsoela said funding challenges were affecting the authority’s ability to satisfactory discharge its mandate.

“Allow me to publicly announce that the mandate that the Basotho nation has given to us is fraught with serious challenges,” Mr Letsoela said.

“Amongst these challenges, is a serious delay in engaging constitutional, public service, parliamentary and security experts for the NRA. These experts are vital for ensuring that the NRA produces work that meets international standards.

“In addition, for a full year, there were delays in securing offices big enough to accommodate all NRA members and the secretariat.

“The lack of funds has affected the NRA’s ability to satisfactorily discharge its mandate. The Covid-19 pandemic has been the most challenging as we didn’t have control over it. At times, we were forced to suspend our work due to the spread of Covid-19,” Mr Letsoela said.

He said plans were at an advanced stage to secure the services of a security expert with financial support from the African Union (AU). That expert will start work before the month is over, he said.

He said constitutional, parliamentary and public service experts would be engaged with financial support from the Commonwealth.

He said they had already engaged two people to draft proposed laws and they started work earlier this month.

He also said they had finalised their communication strategy and they were now seeking funds to implement the strategy.

“Soon we will have a presence on television, radio stations and newspapers. We continue to closely work with all stakeholders in the reforms processes with pure intentions so that we learn from each other. Due to a limited timeframe, the NRA has decided to prioritise the constitutional reforms and others will follow. After all, the constitution supersedes all other laws.

“It is our expectation to clear all constitutional amendments by mid-July,” Mr Letsoela said.

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