Parties call for national dialogue



 Limpho Sello

LESOTHO’S political parties have underscored the need for national dialogue to enhance national unity as well the urgent implementation of the reforms agenda in the aftermath of Saturday’s snap national elections.

The parties made the call at a meeting organised by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) to get them to sign their acceptance of the results of the 2017 elections. The meeting was held at the United Nations (UN) House in Maseru yesterday.

Twenty eight parties contested the Saturday polls where the Thomas Thabane-led All Basotho Convention (ABC) emerged the biggest winner with a total of 48 seats.

The ABC is set to form government after combining its 48 seats with those of the Alliance of Democrats (AD-nine seats), Basotho National Party (BNP-five seats) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL-one seat).

The four parties have 63 seats.

Outgoing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) has since conceded defeat after obtaining only 30 seats.

The DC had contested in 55 constituencies after signing an election pact with Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) in a bid to retain power.

The three parties however, collectively bagged only 44 seats.

CCL Project Manager, Mamokhobo du Preez yesterday told the Lesotho Times that most political parties signed the pledge accepting the polls outcome but also raised other issues including the need for a national dialogue which they said was an urgent matter.

“The meeting pointed out that the incoming government should treat the issue of reforms as a priority after taking office,” Ms du Preez said.

Lesotho launched the national reform programme in 2016 as part of efforts to implement recommendations by the Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi-led Southern African Development Community (SADC) Commission of Inquiry which called for constitutional, security and public service reforms to ensure peace, stability and development.

The commission, which 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, carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015.

The commission also 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.

Some of the reforms were implemented in 2016, particularly, the December retirement of Lieutenant General Kamoli from the LDF.

The reforms process however stalled when the country shifted its focus to preparing for last Saturday’s polls.

Meanwhile, Ms du Preez said “The leaders also indicated the need for national dialogue of political leaders to enhance national unity”.


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