The Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho achieved a significant breakthrough in the implementation of long stalled preparations of the National Stakeholders Dialogue, by convening the Lesotho National Leaders Forum on 23 – 24 August 2018 in Maseru.
The National Leaders Forum was undertaken in conjunction with the team supporting the SADC Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho led by former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, Justice Dikgang Moseneke. The two day gathering which culminated in the signing of the Lesotho National Leaders Forum Declaration on Comprehensive Reforms (LNLFDCR), was attended by representatives of the ruling coalition, opposition political parties, civil society, religious organisations, traditional leaders and leaders from other sections of the Lesotho society.
The Chair of SADC H.E Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia was represented by a delegation led by H.E Veiccoh K. Nghiwete, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Namibia to South Africa with accreditation to the Kingdom of Lesotho, while the delegation representing the Chair of the Organ, H.E Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia was led by Dr Chileshe Mulenga, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs of the Republic of Zambia. The SADC Executive Secretary was represented by Dr Gabriel Malebang, the Head of the Politics and Diplomacy Sector in the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs.
The signing of the declaration is a significant and critical step towards an inclusive, participatory, democratic, transparent and comprehensive reforms process. All signatories pledged to fully and effectively implement the declaration and committed to convening the National Dialogue without undue delay. The National Dialogue was intended to debate and agree on a consensus basis on how to move forward with the reforms process in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The National Leaders Forum agreed on the composition of the National Dialogue Planning Committee and adopted the Terms of Reference of the Committee.
Speaking on behalf of the four-party Lesotho Coalition Government led by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Monyane Moleleki, highlighted that the National Leader’s Forum serves as a confidence building measure among stakeholders and provides new impetus for the implementation of SADC decisions. He further observed that the convening of the meeting was a reflection of the commitment and resolve of Basotho towards the implementation of the envisaged reforms.
The Deputy Prime Minister thanked South African President and SADC Facilitator to Lesotho, His Excellency Mr Cyril Ramaphosa for his continued commitment to assisting Basotho to find a lasting solution to the political and security challenges facing the nation. He also thanked the Facilitator’s Support Team led by Justice Dikgang Moseneke whom he described as “a friend of Basotho, and a tenacious leader whose shrewdness, intellectual and technical ability have seen us through the first step towards reforms.”
In a message read by the Head of the Facilitator’s Support Team, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, the SADC Facilitator H.E Cyril Ramaphosa encouraged all Basotho to continue to strive for peace, stability and development in the Kingdom of Lesotho, and reiterated that SADC remains committed to working with the Government and people of Lesotho in the search for a lasting solution to the political and security challenges facing the Mountain Kingdom in their quest to find sustainable solutions to the challenges confronting them.
The National Dialogue Planning Committee was elected during the Forum to coordinate the preparations for the National Dialogue Plenary I and II and facilitate the arrangements for in-district consultations as agreed in Plenary I. Plenary II will agree on the way forward regarding the reform mechanisms and make proposals for national reconciliation and its implementation.
The meeting was attended by partners implementing the Lesotho National Dialogue and Stabilization Programme (LNDSP) funded by the UNDP, namely the Christian Council of Lesotho, the College of Chiefs, the leadership of Parliament, the Judiciary, Academia, Civil Society, the United Nations, the European Union, the Media and other stakeholders.