Reforms by September: NRA

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Pascalinah Kabi

THE much-delayed multi-sector reforms will be completed by September 2021, NRA deputy chairperson Liteboho Kompi has said.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) had given Lesotho a new deadline of Jun 2021 by when to have completed the constitutional, security sector, media, governance and judicial reforms recommended by the regional body way back in 2016.

However, Ms Kompi said the country was behind schedule mainly due to the lockdown which had restricted intra and inter-district travel as well as large gatherings as part of efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said they were now looking to have implemented the reforms by September 2021.

Retired former South African Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke heads the SADC facilitation into Lesotho on behalf of the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who was appointed mediator by the regional body in 2014.

Justice Moseneke and his team’s mandate is to liaise with all stakeholders in Lesotho to ensure the successful implementation of the multi-sector reforms which were initially supposed to have been implemented by May 2019. However, this was not to be due to the bickering between the then Thomas Thabane-led government and the opposition.

Mr Thabane was replaced in May 2020 by his former Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro in a new government which now includes some former opposition parties like Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC) and Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane’s Movement for Economic Change (MEC).

Last November, Justice Moseneke visited Lesotho in a bid to breathe life into the reforms process. He told reporters that SADC had now given Lesotho until June 2021 to have fully implemented the reforms.

“We agreed on a timeline to have all the reforms completed by June 2021,” Justice Moseneke said at the time.

“We need to have the reforms prioritised in a way that ensures that by the time campaigning for the 2022 elections starts, we should have completed the reforms because the preferable route according to all the stakeholders is that Basotho must go to elections with the reforms in place. It would be a tragedy if the nation would be called to vote with no reforms in place.

“The NRA is supposed to be for 12 months. Its tenure can only be extended by another six months and not more,” Justice Moseneke said.

However, Ms Kompi told this publication that the June deadline could not be met. She said the reforms will be delayed by another three months.

“It does not look like we would have fully implemented the reforms by June as had been indicated earlier. However, we anticipate that the reforms process will be fully implemented by the end of September this year.

“The delays were caused by the lockdown regulations. We could not meet as frequently as we would have wanted with all stakeholders.

“However, we will ensure that everything is concluded by the end of September,” Ms Kompi said in a telephone interview with this publication yesterday.

She is currently in South Africa as part of a delegation that is briefing the SADC Oversight Committee and the Justice Moseneke-led SADC facilitation team on the challenges Lesotho is facing in implementing the reforms.

The delegation is led by Mr Mokhothu. Others in the delegation are Justice and Law Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao; Deputy Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, Machesetsa Mofomobe; National Reforms Authority (NRA) chairperson Pelele Letsoela and NRA chief executive officer Advocate Mafiroane Motanyane.

Mr Mofomobe yesterday told the Lesotho Times that the delegation left Lesotho yesterday morning and would be returning home on Friday.

“We are behind schedule in terms of the implementation of the reforms. We will discuss the progress and hurdles. We had two virtual meetings with various stakeholders and they did not go according to plan due to network connection problems. Another challenge was presented by the sheer volume of the documents that had to be discussed,” Mr Mofomobe said.

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