A MEETING between the government and self-exiled Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, over his possible return to Lesotho to participate in the country’s multi-sector reforms will now take place next week.
This was revealed by Communications minister, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week. The planned meeting comes amid revelations by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that Mr Metsing and his party have scheduled another meeting with the regional body. SADC however, did not disclose the agenda of the meeting.
A fortnight ago Chief Maseribane told this publication that the government/LCD talks were requested by Mr Metsing who has been holed up in neighbouring South Africa after fleeing Lesotho last August citing an alleged plot to assassinate him.
The government has nevertheless refuted his claims, insisting that Mr Metsing fled to escape prosecution for corruption.
According to Chief Maseribane Mr Metsing, who faces extradition from South Africa, communicated his desire to negotiate with the government through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Oversight Committee which was established in July 2015 to serve as an early warning mechanism of instability in Lesotho and to monitor the implementation of SADC decisions aimed at achieving peace in the country.
The Oversight Committee is also tasked with providing assistance in the implementation of constitutional, security and public sector reforms in Lesotho.
Chief Maseribane, welcomed Mr Metsing’s overtures saying the government had over the past few months been going out of its way to engage the opposition leaders in exile.
He said they had no qualms about meeting Mr Metsing and his deputy, Tšeliso Mokhosi, as the government was keen to bring all stakeholders on board to ensure an all-inclusive and participatory approach to yield reforms that would be acceptable to all sections of the population.
The talks had initially been scheduled to take place immediately after the recent Easter holidays but Chief ‘Maseribane said the meeting would now only be held next week.
“I can’t be specific with the exact dates of the meeting because the government is still waiting for the letter from Mr Metsing setting a date for next week,” Chief Maseribane said.
However LCD spokesperson, Teboho Sekata, said he was not aware of the meeting.
Mr Sekata dismissed as baseless Chief ‘Maseribane’s claims that they would meet Mr Metsing and challenged him to produce correspondence between the government and the LCD to back his assertions.
He said he was only aware of an “upcoming meeting between Mr Metsing and the LCD (on one side) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)”.
He however refused to say why Mr Metsing and the LCD would meet SADC.
For her part the SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, yesterday said she was aware of plans by the SADC Oversight Committee and the SADC Preventive Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho (SAPMIL) to meet Mr Metsing.
“SADC is a big institution with so many organisational structures and I heard that the Oversight Committee and Preventive Mission in Lesotho were planning to meet him. It is only after their meeting that I will be given the report and the way forward will be known after the review of that report,” Dr Tax said.