Majoring in minors will take us nowhere

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King Letsie III

LAST Friday, King Letsie III called for the speedy implementation of all the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recommendations and the depoliticisation of security institutions to ensure stability in the country.

In His Majesty’s Speech from the Throne in the National Assembly, the King also said: “I would like to see my government working on this country’s issues with independence and great enthusiasm,”

“Where we can on our own without needing international and SADC intervention, we should do so, starting with the very challenges that we are currently facing.”

His Majesty stated that the reforms would revolve around sustainable development goals, depoliticisation of the public service as well as parliamentary reforms to ensure that the august house oversees the business of the government on a daily basis.

Like most peace-loving Basotho, we were hoping that the political gladiators were heeding this call since it encapsulates the building blocks of Lesotho’s political and economic advancement.

However, this is not the case if the remarks by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) elsewhere in this edition are anything to go by.

The opposition party has vowed to scuttle the envisioned security sector reforms as long as newly-appointed Police and Public Safety ministry Principal Secretary Khothatso Tšooana and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Holomo Molibeli remain in post.

To say such a declaration is disconcerting is an understatement. It’s one thing for a political party to fight to reclaim lost political power and quite another to want to derail a national process. Of course the four-party governing coalition need not antagonise the opposition with their appointments.

But ultimately the people in charge get to appoint the people they want; that’s democracy after all. Lost in this storm in a teacup is the bigger picture.

Lesotho urgently needs to get its act together just to catch up with countries in the SADC region let alone the rest of the world. Countries like Botswana and Namibia, which were worse off than us 50 years ago, speak volumes about the ground that we have lost fighting needless battles.

Those countries’ citizens have the great privilege of living in middle income countries, while Lesotho languishes in the least developed status category.

Lest we forget, former Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who was also the head of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa election observer mission, eloquently summed up what needs to be done in Lesotho post the elections.

He said a new political mind-set was needed for Basotho to find long-lasting solutions to the country’s perennial political challenges through inclusive and broad-based dialogue.

The sentiment was echoed by the Southern African Development Community Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) which stated that the reforms process was just as important as the outcome of the 3 June 2017 elections. SEOM also urged the incoming government to prioritise the implementation of reforms soon after assuming power.

Obviously, the implementation of the reforms cannot be the government’s job alone. The participation and cooperation of the opposition parties such as the LCD in the reforms processes is pivotal to ensuring that concrete and lasting reforms are effected for posterity.

Refusing to implement reforms is tantamount to cutting off the nose to spite the face because, one way or another, we all bear the brunt of instability and economic stagnation.

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