THE pledge by the newly-elected Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) executive committee to work with government on developmental issues is commendable given the long history of self-inflicted penury brought on by the perennial self-serving squabbling among the country’s politicians.
As we report elsewhere in this edition, the MFP made the pledge in a press conference yesterday in Maseru.
MFP leader, Tlhoriso Lekatsa told the media that the MFP committee had agreed to work with the government.
“The conference has resolved that our party should work together with the government in its endeavors of implementing the outstanding SADC decisions, Mr Lekatsa said.
“We have also resolved to commit our seat in parliament to support the government inside and outside parliament.
“We further intend to lobby other political parties in parliament to join forces with the government to ensure that the government fulfils its commitment on developing the country. We are saying people should put aside their differences towards the common good of the country.”
The MFP statement marks a radical but welcome break from the position of its partners in the erstwhile seven parties coalition government, particularly the Democratic Congress party which has continued with its attacks on the new government which appear more about personalities than they are about issues.
Some may say the MFP is such an insignificant force on account of having just one seat and therefore their pledge is of limited if any significance in the grater scheme of things.
We however, maintain that this is a welcome stance, on the side of principle, even if it may be nothing more than tokenism.
We are not calling for opposition parties to fold up or turn themselves into ineffectual lapdogs.
We are only saying that there is a need to rise above partisan politics and the brinksmanship that has derailed the country’s development prospects for the greater part of the 51 years we have been independent.
Instead of training attacks on personalities, Basotho want parties across the divide to collaborate on issues of national interest.
We only ask that they begin collaborating on the very issues they pledged themselves to do shortly before the 3 June elections.
Basotho and the entire world know that all parties pledged to immediately work on the implementation of the raft of constitutional, governance and security sector reforms designed to achieve lasting stability in the country.
It is the kind of stability we need to ensure governments last their full five year terms.
It is the kind of stability that would make the otherwise preventable loss of precious lives a thing of the past.
It is also the kind of stability without which we cannot expect to continue receiving the much-needed development assistance from our international partners.
We all know that other countries who achieved independence at the same time as us, particularly Botswana, have been able to achieve impressive economic growth rates on the back of stable governments that guarantee the rule of law and peace.
We will never tire of reminding our leaders that Botswana has roughly the same population as us and not much else besides diamonds and a vibrant tourist sector and yet they have utilised these to turn their country into what is generally seen as a middle-income country.
Their economy continues to grow as they continue to leverage on good governance and stability.
We also have the ingredients for growth, namely a highly literate population on top of abundant water supplies, diamonds and other mineral resources as well as potential money-spinning tourist destinations.
All of these can be leveraged to achieve economic growth and that can only be done in the context of politicians removing their blinkers and seeing the big picture.
Let all parties collaborate for the national good.