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Opposition vows to block reforms



MASERU – THE opposition says it will aggressively oppose all reforms until the government fires Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

The hardline stance comes a few days after talks between the government and the opposition collapsed over Lieutenant General Kamoli.

The talks were meant to pave way for the return of the three opposition leaders who fled the country last year after alleging their lives were in danger.

The negotiating teams however failed reach common ground over how the Lieutenant General Kamoli issue should be treated.

The opposition stood steadfast on its demand that Lieutenant General Kamoli should be fired before the leaders come back.

The government remained unwavering insisting that the leaders should come home first so the issue of Kamoli’s removal can be discussed in a broader meeting.

Now the opposition says following the failure of the talks it will seek to block all reforms the government will propose.

The government is currently working on constitutional, security sector, electoral and public sector reforms. The coalition government wants the opposition’s buy-in and contribution to give the reforms legitimacy.

Some of the reforms especially those relating to constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in parliament which the government does not have.

Joang Molapo, deputy leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), told thepost that with the talks now dead the opposition will not be cooperating with the government.

“Now that the talks have collapsed we, as the opposition, are not going to participate in the reforms suggested,” Molapo said.

“We will not be part of the security, constitutional, electoral and public service reforms. We are not even going to participate in the tour to Kenya.”

The government has been busy putting together a team that includes opposition members for a study tour to understand how Kenya implemented its constitutional reforms.

“What we are going to do is to vigorously fight all the reforms they will suggest. We will vehemently oppose them,” Molapo said.

“If they start pushing for a referendum on some of the reforms they will find us ready. The referendum will be turned into a political campaign and the government is going to lose the battle.”

“There is no way the people are going to support reforms the government has designed on its own without the contribution of the opposition.”

Molapo also said the opposition did not see the need to compromise because Kamoli’s removal is “a black and white issue”.

“We cannot be talking about the degree to which something is wrong or right. The other side is blatantly wrong on this one. They don’t have a credible argument with which to support their position on Kamoli.”

Molapo said the opposition believes the Sadc Double Troika Summit and the visit by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma in the next two weeks are likely to pressure the government to come back to the negotiating table.

“Short of a local and regional push the government is not going to move on the Kamoli issue. And this is where Sadc comes in.”

A threat of sanctions is the only thing that will force the government to negotiate.

“We believe the government will only move when sanctions are on the table. Only when the region puts sanctions on the table will the government start making real concessions that will get the talks going again.”

Communications Minister Khotso Letsatsi said the government does not believe the talks have collapsed.

“I don’t know what they mean when they say the talks have collapsed. We are willing to talk to them. We have been willing to talk to them,” Letsatsi said.

The minister accused the opposition of shifting goal posts.

The government, he said, had bent backwards to give former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane police bodyguards after he rejected military protection.

“After that they asked what happens to the security of the other leaders and we said its fine we can also give them the police. Now they are going up with other issues they did not even raise from the start”.

“We need to separate the issues. We are talking about the return of their leaders back home and not the dismissal of people. That has to be made clear,” he said.

“The threats they are making do not even come in because the talks have not collapsed. We are still willing to talk to them. We have not refused to talk to them”.

Staff Reporter



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