SADC to kick-start reforms process

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

MASERU – SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC) facilitator, Cyril Ramaphosa says the bloc’s facilitation mission will visit Lesotho immediately after the inauguration of the post-election government to kick-start the implementation of the country’s reforms.

Mr Ramaphosa, who is also South African deputy president, said this yesterday in his overview of Lesotho’s snap elections which were held on Saturday.

The polls were held in the wake of the 1 March 2017 no-confidence vote that was passed by the opposition on the seven parties’ coalition government headed by outgoing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

The Thomas Thabane-headed All Basotho Convention (ABC) emerged the biggest winner, with 47 constituency seats and one proportional representation (PR) seat, bringing their total to 48. The ABC also won three constituencies in which some of the candidates died before the elections.

The constituency elections for the legislature candidates will be held after 90 days from the polls.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mosisili’s Democratic Congress obtained 26 constituency seats and four PR seats and outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy obtained one constituency seat and 10 PR seats.

And on Wednesday, Mr Ramaphosa extended his profound congratulations to the people of Lesotho and commended them for conducting peaceful elections.

“We urge all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the peaceful elections as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission and an expression of the democratic will of the people of the kingdom,” he said, adding, the peaceful and credible elections in Lesotho underlined the commitment of the region and the continent to ensuring good governance prevails.

He added that the SADC facilitation mission would pay an official visit to Lesotho soon after the formation of the new government to convene a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum to build consensus for the implementation of SADC decisions.

“These (SADC decisions) will include the implementation of the constitutional and security sector reforms as well as recommendations of the Phumaphi commission of inquiry,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

The Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi-led Southern African Development Community (SADC) Commission of Inquiry was set up after outgoing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asked SADC to probe the fatal shooting of former Lesotho Defence Force commander Maaparankoe Mahao on 25 June 2015, and it carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015.

The commission recommended among other things, the dismissal of former army commander Tlali Kamoli, the suspension of LDF officers implicated in cases of murder, attempted murder and treason while investigations into the allegations proceeded in line with international best practice.

After the report was issued, some of Lesotho’s international funders including the United States government withheld funding and called on government to speedily implement the SADC recommendations.

And on Wednesday, Mr Ramaphosa said they looked forward to working with the government and all role players towards the achievement of these goals and setting the kingdom on the path of sustainable peace, security, constitutionality and development.

Meanwhile, the preliminary statement of the SADC electoral observation missions to Lesotho warned that although Lesotho held peaceful, free and fair polls; general elections were not the solution to Lesotho’s political and security problems.

“I am certain you agree with me that given the country’s history of elections, the outcome of these elections is just as important as the reform process that is urgently required in the immediate aftermath of the polls to bring stability and inclusiveness that will lead to renewed commitment to political for sustainable development and prosperity of Basotho,” head of the SADC observer mission, Augustine Philip Mahiga said.

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