PRIME Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane officially launched the much-anticipated National Reforms Agenda in the National Assembly this week.
The national reforms agenda marks the start of the processes and activities that are expected to culminate in the implementation of the multi sector reforms that were recommended by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2016.
Three weeks ago the SADC heads of state gave Lesotho until May 2019 to have fully implemented the constitutional and security reforms that are seen as crucial to achieving lasting peace and stability, without which socio-development cannot be achieved.
In his address to parliament on Tuesday, Dr Thabane said the reforms were aimed at creating “a better Lesotho” characterised by the “respect for human rights, the rule of law, efficient service delivery and a flourishing economy”.
“As we embark on this journey to a new era of the Lesotho we aspire to, we should not take our first steps without re-tracing our history from independence in 1966. Lesotho has encountered numerous challenges during her 52 years of independence including insecurity and the lack of political stability, the poor administration of justice, constitutional deficiencies and poor service delivery.
“Sadly in recent years the security of the country has been gravely compromised with the resultant brutal killings of two army commanders.”
Former army commanders, Lieutenant Generals, Maaparankoe Mahao and Khoantle Motšomotšo were assassinated in June 2015 and September 2017 respectively.
Lt-Gen Mahao was fatally shot by his erstwhile LDF colleagues on 25 June 2015 just outside Maseru. The LDF claimed at the time that Lt-Gen Mahao had resisted arrest for allegedly leading a mutiny when he was killed but that claim was dismissed as false by a SADC commission of inquiry into his death.
Lt-Gen Mahao’s family accused the army of killing him in cold blood basing on the account of his nephews who were with him during the incident.
Lt-Gen Motšomotšo was gunned down on 5 September 2017 at his Ratjomose Barracks by his subordinates, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi. The two were subsequently killed in a shootout with Lt-Gen Motšomotšo’s bodyguards that same day.
Dr Thabane said that it was against these “realities (of violence and instability), that the people and government have found it prudent to undertake a comprehensive review of the ways we have been doing business to address the anomalies of the past”.
He said that Tuesday’s launch would be followed by a national day of prayer on 22 May this year and this would be held at different venues across the country.
“The objective of the prayer is to ask for blessings and strength as we embark on this mammoth task. His Majesty the King will deliver a speech on peace and reconciliation.”
Dr Thabane also revealed that the national prayers will be followed by the National Leaders’ Forum which will appoint a National Dialogue Planning Committee. The National Leaders’ Forum will followed by a National Multi Stake-holder Dialogue where the draft reform agenda will be formulated.
“It is at this stage (of the National Leaders’ Forum) that the leaders’ representatives will be approached to take part in the reforms process. This is meant to ensure an all-inclusive process and all efforts shall be made to make sure that everyone is included.
“The National Multi-stakeholder Dialogue will deliberate and delve into the core business of the reform areas, the modus operandi as well as the institutional arrangements for the reforms,” Dr Thabane said.
He urged the nation to fully commit to making the reforms a success as these would be a “legacy to the generations to come”.