The coalition government yesterday unveiled an ambitious policy document it says will underpin government operations for the next five years.
The policy document comes nine months after the formation of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last June.
The document says the government wants to transform and reconstruct Lesotho’s anaemic economy for the purposes of creating jobs and slashing poverty.
It will also seek to form a National Planning Board to aggressively drive key sectors such as tourism, hydropower generation, education and sports.
Belated as it is we think it is in order that we congratulate the government for putting together such a plan.
But that’s as far as it goes.
The biggest challenge for this coalition government, however, is to close the usually huge chasm that often exists between policy pronouncement and implementation.
We have no doubt there have been lots of ambitious policy documents that have been crafted by previous governments.
They have, like yesterday’s document, all been launched amid pomp and fanfare.
Our problem is that too often we have allowed such brilliant documents to gather dust in government offices.
Our biggest problem has always been in the implementation.
We are not surprised that such policy papers are often abandoned to gather dust somewhere in government offices.
This has been the major Achilles heel for the previous governments since the restoration of democracy in 1993.
The coalition government must therefore walk the talk in addressing the key challenges facing Basotho.
This government was elected into office amid much hope for change.
It must deliver.
Basotho are still waiting for real action that significantly transforms their lives for the better.
By all accounts they are not looking to be pampered.
They want enough to eat.
They want decent jobs.
They want an enabling business environment that allows them to stand on their own.
They want the government to tackle corruption and crime.
They want decent shelter, with all basic amenities.
We cannot understand, for instance, why some parts of the city still resemble medieval settlements with people being forced to go through the indignity of using pit latrines.
Hundreds of thousands in urban areas still do not have running water in their homes.
We believe this coalition government will be measured against how it deals with these challenges.
Basotho want to see their lives being transformed for the better after five years.
Anything short of that will be a huge indictment on this coalition government.
But time is certainly not on the government’s side.
In less than 50 months Basotho will once trek to the polls to elect a new government.
We might not have another coalition government again.
But for the individual parties they can only retain power if they perform well in improving the lives of the people.
Yesterday’s policy document was launched exactly nine months after the formation of the coalition government.
We are still curious to understand why there was this delay.
We need not remind the government that it needs to act with speed to improve the lives of Basotho.
Time is not on its side.