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Reforms bigger than individuals



IT would appear the government of Lesotho went out of its way to ensure the SADC-driven reforms get back on track.
Having placated the opposition by meeting most of its demands, we can now look forward to the reforms process beginning in earnest.
Under the terms of the agreement signed last week, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, will be expected to return home to participate in the reforms.
The government of Lesotho has also agreed that Metsing “will not be subjected to any pending criminal proceedings during the dialogue and reform process”.
“Should Metsing not return as envisaged, the national reform process will nonetheless continue,” says the agreement.

We think this was a master-stroke to push the reforms process forward. With that key demand met, the government appears to have successfully pulled the rug under the opposition’s feet.
However, we note that the deal has not received universal endorsement amongst Basotho. There is a section amongst us who strongly feel that the government sold out.
They are wrong.

While the ‘Metsing clause’ might not have been received well among Basotho, we believe it offered the best way out of the stalemate.
In any case, Metsing and many others facing criminal charges have not been granted amnesty. They will still have their day in court in the not-so-distant future.
The hawks amongst our leaders must not be allowed to push this narrative that the government sold out. They never did.

We have argued in previous editorials that the Metsing issue should not have been a deal-breaker in the first place. The reforms are much bigger than an individual.
We are happy that the government seems to appreciate the wisdom of setting aside a key electoral promise to go after individuals who they think were at the centre of human rights violations in the last four years in order to get the reforms going.
It took boldness to make that call.

The government has also decided that Metsing is eligible to get his benefits as a former deputy prime minister.
The magnanimous decision should help smoothen relations between the government and the opposition which have been strained for a long time.
The two sides must be commended for seeing the bigger picture and not allowing themselves to be bogged down by side-issues. This is not time for politicking. It is time we deal with substantive issues that affect Basotho.

With the deal signed, we can now look forward to an inclusive process beginning with the second National Leaders’ Forum on November 7. The National Dialogue will run from November 20-23.
With all two sides committed to the reforms process, we can look forward to a truly inclusive process where all views will be considered.
That is critical if we are to get Lesotho back on track. At the end of the reforms, Lesotho must have been firmly set on a path of political stability.

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