The retired South African Judge and also the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator to Lesotho, Justice Dikgang Moseneke has declared the National Reforms process as a success story.
This comes after his two-day visit to Lesotho this week with the intentions to learn about the progress that has been made in regard to the completion of reforms.
Moseneke said the process which is near finalisation, will have to pass through Parliament for approval before report back to SADC’s selected organ mandated to put a microscopic eye on the peace, security and stability in the region, which will meet in two weeks.
Lesotho is once again on the agenda of SADC for a protracted peace-building situation alongside, inter alia, the Kingdom of Eswatini after its citizens took to the streets in protest of the state’s governance system decrying absolute monarchy at the expense of ability to exercise democracy.
Moseneke indicated that the NRA has reached the apex of the reforms and are expected to compile the reforms into an ‘Omnibus bill’ which should be presented for adoption by parliament even before the upcoming National Assembly General Elections slated for next year.
“This is a critical time for the reforms process; constitutional and governance reforms in the Kingdom of Lesotho. It is crucial because we are getting to the zenith of the reforms and we have done extremely well. We are delighted and happy that we have had so many pieces of legislation, with an assurance that these will be put together into the omnibus bill before being introduced to parliament.
“Bills are important because all of you will see what is proposed for change. We have reached the high point of what we are doing and there will be work after this has been introduced to parliament; for debate and discussion for adoption. Our main target is to have all these adopted before elections so that the elections will be held under a new law.
“We also have to report to SADC which is sitting in two weeks’ time, and the obvious question from countries around the region will be… “How far are Basotho with the reforms? And we should be able to present the omnibus bill in black and white for everybody to see what Basotho want to change,” he said.
“SADC is going through a very difficult time itself with Swaziland and Mozambique, so this becomes the success story which reveals the developments and it is a story that will relief them overtime of intense facilitation and scrutiny and saving of resources.
“We are reaching the high point and we are going to see all the work that has been done by the NRA. When I started here, following on now our president Ramaposa, there was military contingent here, peace was shaking, there were exiles and people could not come to Lesotho for all sorts of reasons.
“The leaders’ forums, plenary sessions and the establishment of NRA have gotten us this far. That is a very long term discussion, we were discussing encouraging the discussion around the issue and we are delighted that the NRA has started a peace architecture discussion. Basotho have to look into the mirror and decide how far back they go, and whether or not they will have reparations.
“So my mission this time is basically to alert everyone that we are at a point where we have to report to SADC. It is the assurance that indeed NRA has produced draft bills and that those bills are to be collated into some omnibus bill and give us a written confirmation that it is so. The decision is not to take over what Basotho are doing, but whether or not Lesotho has to remain on the list of countries which require the attention of SADC and whether the mandate of the facilitation team ought to be extended.
“I want to make I clear that Lesotho is a success story, I remember where we started. If we lodge this bill before parliament we should celebrate and shouldn’t be hard on ourselves,” he said.
The NRA is a multi-stakeholder reforms spearheading body largely comprising politicians, which was established by an act of parliament to take over the process following the 15-member National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) which set the ball in motion by initiating the all-necessary dialogue stage which saw Basotho voice out what areas they wanted to see reformed, as espoused in the Multi-Stakeholder National Dialogue Plenary II Report on reforms.