THE Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship is set to establish the Lesotho Association of Land Authority (LALA) with the help of Botswana Association of Land Authority (BALA) and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa).
This emerged during a two-day Peer Learning Dialogue Partnership workshop recently held in Maseru.
Speaking at the workshop, the Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship, Habofanoe Lehana said the meeting was crucial as it brought together all the local government councillors to discuss and contribute to the formation of the Land Authority. Lesotho, he explained, was one of the few countries in Africa which was losing benefits that came with the establishment of a land authority.
He said Lesotho welcomed the steps taken to establish the land authority as this would improve management and utilisation of land and contribute to the acceleration of growth.
“I believe LALA will do a lot to help boost the economy and importantly to bring together stakeholders critical in the proper administration on land and to enrich the role of the local government,” Mr Lehana said.
He further explained that the UCLG-Africa (an umbrella organisation that represents local governments in Africa) was implementing a programme intended to support the setting up and empowerment of national associations of local governments and of individual governments to deliver on their mandates; and to engage into structured dialogues with central governments and others pertinent stakeholders.
“In the past, there were several attempts to establish a local government national association but due to some challenges, the goal of those initiatives was not achieved.
“It is against this backdrop that we acknowledge the presence of UCLG-Africa to help us establish the national association of local government and we will commit to the establishment of such initiative in addition to the land authority,” Mr Lehana said.
Also speaking at the workshop, the President of the National Association of Local Authorities in Botswana, Reverend Mpho Marumo, said they were honoured to be part of a team that would facilitate the establishment of Lesotho Association of Local Authorities.
He explained they were requested by UCLG-Africa to help Lesotho establish the association as this was the backbone of all activities aiming to ensure sustained progress in economic and social development.
“We are aware that Lesotho has good policies that advocate for development, including in the areas of local government; what needs to be strengthened is the implementation of those policies through the participation of all Basotho and other crucial actors,” Rev Marumo said.
The UCLG-AFRICA is an umbrella organisation that represents local governments in Africa. Its mission is to promote decentralization of services in Africa through local governments to support improvement of communities.
It seeks to enhance efficiency in the operations of local governments to help achieve a transformation that is responsive to the needs of Africans, including addressing poverty and ensuring ease of access to essential services.