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Metsing, Mochoboroane saved by the bell


Mohloai Mpesi

Political leaders Mothetjoa Metsing of the opposition Lesotho Congres for Democracy (LCD) and Selibe Mochoboroane of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) escaped by a whisker after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator and special envoy to the Lesotho political instability situation, Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke pointed out that SADC brokered agreements are binding on member-states.

This he said in relation to the infamous ‘clause 10’ which formed part of the SADC decision over the then prevailing political impasse which was seen as a stumbling block to the reforms progress in 2018 when opposition political parties shunned the reform process by boycotting the then National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC). Clause 10 of the then document had provided for halting of major changes to the national system including trying of politicians until the completion of the multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder National Reforms.

Moseneke arrived in the country on Monday this week for a three day visit to inspect on the reforms progress.

This after the High Court ruled in favour of the legality of prosecutorial action against the two politicians for alleged crimes committed in the 2014 attempted coup.

In delving onto the matter, Moseneke said that SADC is not privy of any arrests imposed on Metsing and Mochoboroane for treason charges after they allegedly tried to topple Motsoahae Thomas Thabane on August 30, 2014.

“Our position as SADC has been consistent and clear, we have invited those who were on exile to come into the country and we have entered into an agreement with the government of Lesotho as well as with political parties. That political agreement is still valid and binding. The importance of it is that we have to safeguard the reforms and when we are done with the reforms, charges of whatever nature may be there and prosecutions by the authorities which are involved.

“For now we are not aware of any impending arrest that will happen to the extent that the legal processes would have deferred that prospect to a later time,” he said.

He announced at the conclusion of his visit which ended on Wednesday, that they agreed on a time-frame for the finalisation of the reforms process which was set at midyear 2021.

“The primary purpose of these sessions was to reset the reforms button and make sure that we proceed after the process was impeded by the Coronavirus pandemic and other factors that have come into play. It is very important to deal with effective strategies to be able to deliver as we started nearly two years ago.

“The prime outcome should be constitutional and other legal or statutory reforms which arise from the agreements made by Basotho in the final plenary,” he said.

“We agreed on the timeline, and would like to have all the reforms completed by June 2021 because the NRA can only live for twelve months with the extension of six months and never more.

“We agreed on prioritisation, the fact is we need the reforms prioritised in a way that will ensure that by the time we go for campaigning and elections for 2022 start, then we should have completed reforms because the preferable route, all the stakeholders told us and we agreed, is that Basotho must go to elections with the reforms in place.

“Also we had to resolve the differences between the NRA and the executive arm of government in Lesotho; we debated and had role clarification to distinguish the role play of government, NRA and Parliament,” he said.

“We also discussed a work schedule which will set out what should be done, when and by who,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate press conference, the Minister of Law and Justice Professor Nqosa Mahao echoed similar sentiments saying that they agreed on a timeframe and selecting a small committee which will help to paddle the reforms process.

“Their (SADC) expectation is that everything relating to reforms must be done by then (mid 2021).He narrated that their understanding towards national reforms timeframe is that it started in February 2020.

“The very same act also stipulates that the law minister can extend the time by six months, he (Moseneke) therefore advised me to be sympathetic to extend with six months, meaning the reform process will be complete by August 2021.

“He asked that the officials of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Foreign Affairs and working together with NRA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and his deputy, should look at the work schedule or work plan which will pave a way from now on,” he said. fffff

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