Mahao accuses government of dragging feet on reforms

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By Mamello Mosaefane

The leader of the Basotho Action Party (BAP) Professor Nqosa Mahao, accused Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s administration of dragging its feet on speedy implementation of the reforms led by the National Reforms Authority (NRA).

Mahao, a former Minister of law, justice, and correctional services said process when he left office there were about three pieces of draft legislation that his ministry had long completed together with the NRA but remain in limbo.

He said the Bills were only waiting for their tabling before parliament but Majoro’s government has done nothing to take the Bills to parliament.

Mahao made the comment at the national stakeholder forum on sustainable peace, national unity, and reconciliation conducted by NRA.

Mahao, who was close to the process as a minister, said the three Bills that NRA had completed long before he left his ministerial post in April to form BAP.

These bills, according to Mahao, had been sent to NRA by his ministry, and NRA completed working on them by March.

“But those Bills have not been tabled before parliament. I do not blame NRA for this because it has done its job. But it looks like the government is holding them,” said Mahao.

He also described this as dragging feet on the reform’s implementation by Majoro’s administration.

Mahao pleaded with the government to speed the implementation of the reforms as there is still a lot to be done.

Speaking on sustainable peace, national unity, and reconciliation, Mahao said it should not focus solely on political matters but go down to the communities as many conflicts emanate from individuals in the communities.

He also added that the truth and reconciliation commission should involve victims of human rights violations and the commission should work by putting the onus upon victims to decide to compromise their human rights by forgiving those who wronged them.

Mahao added that statistically, 99.9 percent of killings happening in Lesotho have nothing to do with politics; hence truth and reconciliation should be taken down to the communities.

Mahao’s younger brother, General Maaparankoe Mahao was gunned down in the outskirts of Maseru in Mokema by his colleagues in the army for an alleged mutiny plot.

The murder of his brother threw the country into an abyss of security instability as Maaparankoe’s killing came after many of his alleged mutiny plotters against the army command had been arrested, tortured, and imprisoned.

But, the brutal killing of Mahao in full view of his young nephews prompted a Southern African Development Community to be invited to conduct a commission of inquiry that made finding that there was no mutiny plot but brutal killing in a fashion that reflected a retaliation by some soldiers that were allegedly seen to be Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s sympathizers.

“If NRA will focus on killings related to politics, may it remember that 99.9 percent of the killing in the country have nothing to do with politics.

“The high rate of killings is a result of more than 70 percent of them never getting solved because politicians have captured the justice system,” Mahao added.

Focusing the truth and reconciliation commission on politicians is according to Mahao, a means to absolve politicians for crimes and allow them to escape justice.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro on the other hand told the forum his government is fully behind NRA with everything to ensure the process becomes a success.

Majoro also said peace, unity, and reconciliation are key to reforming Lesotho.

“We have decided to turn a new page and cross the river of despair. We are determined to stand up and build the Lesotho that we want,” said Majoro.

Majoro’s statement was corroborated by his deputy prime minister, Mathibeli Mokhothu who also promised the government will complement the efforts of NRA.

“We shall therefore continue to provide strategic leadership as well as financial support to NRA in the implementation of the reforms process. We shall do our part to ensure that the playfield is leveled and that every Mosotho fully participates in this process,” Mokhothu said.

The reforms, according to Mokhhuthu, are Lesotho’s last hope of sustainable peace, security, stability, and economic growth.

While Mokhothu indicated the reforms period is very short, he said reforms are a process and all should be patient with NRA for it to do its job and lead the country to where it wants.

Mokhothu said government commits to supporting NRA to ensure all are given a chance to participate in the peace and unity building of the country that will be inherited by the upcoming generations.