Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as facilitator for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) for Lesotho, on Wednesday said a positive progress report would be presented regarding the status quo in the mountain kingdom at the forthcoming 37th Ordinary Summit to be held in Pretoria.
“We, as the SADC facilitation process, also accompanied by Oversight Committee Chairperson [Retired Justice Frederick Mwita Werema], have come to Lesotho to find out how the process is unfolding in Lesotho following the very successful elections they held and the formation of the new government,” Ramaphosa said after a meeting with Prime Minister Tom Thabane.
“We have also dealt with issues that have to do with what the SADC Summit decided the last time in relation to the holding of the multi-stakeholder dialogue that is meant to, in an inclusive way, address the issues of reforms – security reforms, constitutional reforms, media reforms and public service reforms.”
Ramaphosa said a report was received from Thabane showing that Lesotho was determined to move ahead with the holding of that dialogue, where all the issues of reforms raised by SADC would be addressed.
“We are very pleased to have heard that it will be as inclusive as possible. And in fact that the process is already under way and the process will be led by Basotho themselves. It will be a homegrown process; it will be organic with SADC playing a supportive role,” said Ramaphosa.
“That pleases us exceedingly and we will be able to table a very forward-looking and positive report to the SADC summit as both the facilitator as well as the oversight committee and inform the leaders of the region that Lesotho is now firmly on the road to embracing stability.”
Ramaphosa was optimistic that Lesotho is “firmly on the road of implementing the Phumaphi Commission recommendations as well as embarking on the constitutional, security reforms, media reforms and public service reforms that were identified by the Double Troika of SADC as key issues that will enable Lesotho to move up the ladder and be a very stable democracy.”
Thabane said his nation takes SADC recommendations very seriously, and was on the path to stability.
“When we have had problems, we have called SADC to help us. When we are doing something that is not quite correct and SADC says it is not correct, we must give them an ear. SADC, they are not children, they are our friends, they are our colleagues they are our comrades, and they are people with whom we happen to be in the same region and therefore share the same problems, breath the same air, drink the same water,” said Thabane.
“In fact the water in Johannesburg that Deputy President will be drinking when he gets to his house comes from the mountains of Lesotho. Nothing could be greater than in showing the strength of this region. Thank you very much and your delegation for coming this morning and for the wisdom that you are leaving behind which we need to follow.”
Regional leaders are expected in South Africa for the forthcoming 37th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government to be hosted at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The SADC summit features a senior officials meeting from August 11 to 14, a ministerial meeting on August 16, the Double Troika on August 18 and the actual summit of heads of State and government on August 19 and 20.
– African News Agency (ANA)