DPE holds ‘talks about talks’ on reforms with senior citizens

In furtherance of efforts aimed at informing and ‘saving’ reform process, Development for Peace Education (DPE) held a dialogue session with sectors of society which may make contribution but are likely to be left out in the reforms process comprising former ambassadors, former security chiefs, former Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) operatives, former senior government officers, chiefs who are not principal and veterans in civic space. It is in the spirit of inclusive and participatory reforms that DPE invited these groups to map a way forward on how they can be part of the reform agenda from its inception to its end.

The session was official opened by Former Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Lesao Lehohla who decried the state of our nation which has seen the country plunged in chaos and instability for years. He appealed for calm, patriotism and political tolerance as the country approaches reforms. He pleaded with the participants to seize the ‘reforms opportunity’ to define a new trajectory of a prosperous and stable Lesotho. DPE canvassed its reform process proposal (which has since been adopted by NGOs as blueprint in informing reform process) to this gathering. The expectation is that the participants will further promote this proposal in other fora. While the session was aimed at soliciting their views on reforms process only, it was challenging to restrain participants from talking to issues of reforms.

Government Technical Team on Reforms Coordinator Ms Mamosa Molapo gave a brief on government-thought reforms roadmap which aspires to have among other two National Leaders forum, National multi-stakeholder forum, in districts and community consultations to solicit citizens voices on reforms.   Ms Molapo went further to mention that they are slowly providing logistical support since the creation of National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) which comprises political parties and non-state actors.  Reacting to the presentation political economist Mr Arthur Mokoena Majara  argued that what needs to be reformed is politicians not constitution or any of the sectors listed for reforms.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon Lesego Makgothi and Hon Adv Lekhetho Rakuoane shared that the agreement brokered by Facilitation Team led by Justice Dikgang Moseseke would take the process forward.   Morena Makoanyane Letsie and Morena Bereng Qhobela challenged the session with ideas on what needs to be changed. The response was overwhelming as participants wanted to engage on the content already.

The session confirmed DPE view that they may want to make a contribution but they were likely to be left out. “it is true that we have a word to say yet those in the lead never thought of us….” said Thabo Sekonyela a member of LAVETA.  HE Percy Mangoaela said they were ready to talk about reforms and urged all to ensure that deliberations in the next forum go direct to reforms. One of the commentators of note on Lesotho’s political history and the boundaries between Lesotho and South Africa commended DPE for this opportunity. Retired Communications & Social Mobilisation Strategist Nkhono ‘Malineo Motšepe thanked DPE for remembering the forgotten and called for consideration of children, not those who work for them. Equally appreciative were senior citizens and the security agencies.  Already the question was thrown to assess whether politicians were right or not to abolish Defence Commission and distribute its functions among politicians.

DPE intends to support these sectors to make their voices heard and the National Dialogue Planning Committee shall be approached and be invited to the subsequent sessions.