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‘The gloves are off’



Talks between the government and the opposition collapsed spectacularly last week after the two parties allegedly failed to agree on how to deal with Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

That is sad.

The opposition was insisting that the government should dismiss Kamoli in line with SADC recommendations or they would stay put in South Africa where they have sought refuge since May last year.

They argue that Kamoli remains the reason why they are outside the country and only when he has been neutralised will they feel safe to come back home.

We regret that the two sides could not sing from the same hymn book and see the bigger picture as they battle to normalise the political situation in Lesotho and extricate the country from its current mire.

With the talks dead in the water, the opposition is now threatening not to cooperate with the government as it pushes its reform agenda.

In fact, the BNP’s deputy leader Joang Molapo said the opposition will vigorously oppose the government’s reform agenda.

That could set the two sides on a fresh collision course with devastating political consequences for Lesotho.

That would be tragic.

It is our hope that the two sides will desist from antagonising each other and quickly return to the negotiating table. They have no other viable option.

They must thrash out their differences and engage in further talks to find common ground. The challenges they face are not insurmountable.

It would be a pity if the two sides dig in and refuse to talk to each other.

We believe that the ordinary Mosotho wants these talks to succeed and create an enabling environment to address Lesotho’s bigger challenges – poverty, inequality, HIV/AIDS, and lack of jobs.

These are the key issues that we must focus on as a nation. People are looking to the political leadership to provide solutions.

While we fight among ourselves, Lesotho’s economy has taken a back seat. We have lost out on investment opportunities because we have been on each other’s throats. Our economy has slowed down because of the political uncertainty.

Only talks will unlock the political logjam.

While the political dispute drags on, only the dimwits among us would wish that Lesotho is slapped with sanctions.

The truth of the matter is that sanctions will hurt Lesotho’s poor.

Our position is that both sides must be ready to compromise and put the interests of the country first rather than their own. They must thrash out their differences and allow the country to move forward.

Our political leaders owe it to future generations to proceed with the security, judicial and civil service reforms. Only when we have undertaken these reforms will we be able to haul Lesotho from the cycle of political crises.

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