Tanzania’s President Dr. John Pombe Magufuli has been applauded by the international community for his impeccable leadership of the SADC organ on politics, defense and security cooperation at this juncture when the community is ushering Lesotho into yet another National Parliamentary Election, the third within five years.
Representatives from international organizations operating within SADC region and Lesotho in particular including the United Nations and European Union have commended SADC urgent call to the incoming government for serious structural and constitutional reforms.
During the recent launch of SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) in Lesotho held in Maseru, Hon. Dr. Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania’s foreign Minister, Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ and mission head reiterated SADC ‘s earlier mandate to the current government to undertake reforms in order to stabilize its political system and avoid a repeat of previous political crises.
While commending political parties for signing pledges to accept election results and Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho (IEC) for its preparedness for the upcoming national elections, Ambassador Mahiga sends a strong message to Lesotho,
“After three elections within less than five years the fatigued voters deserve a different and durable outcome. SADC will definitely take these pledges and commitments seriously in supporting the reform process in the Kingdom of Lesotho by the next government” said Ambassador Mahiga.
Ambassador Mahiga in conversation with the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho,
Matthew T. Harrington after launching SEOM at AVANI Hotel in Maseru Lesotho.
Briefing members of SADC Secretariat before the launch, Amb. Mahiga said that it is upon SADC that leaders of the next government of Lesotho be held accountable to carry out the reforms.
“Presedent Magufuli, our Chair of the Organ has given me clear instructions that we must work hard, together, and to make sure that this time around we are successful. The people of Lesotho have great expectations on us as SADC, let us not disappoint them” he remarked.
Similar message was shared at the launch with all stakeholders about the commitment of President Magufuli, to stabilize political situation in the Mountain Kingdom as well as in the SADC region. He said that the work of SADC mission in the country was mandated by President Magufuli and that several groups have been working tirelessly since April 2017 in Lesotho. Based on their observation and preliminary work, SADC is still of the view that major reforms are needed in the country and not just national elections.
“It is evident from our extended presence on the ground in the Kingdom of Lesotho that the resolution of the political and security problems is not entirely predicated upon the elections and its outcomes, Clearly, there has to be stronger and time-bound commitment to broader reforms in the political, security and public sectors in order to stabilize the country” he added.
As Tanzania is about to finish its term as the head of this important organ of the community, Ambassador Mahiga said he is simply executing President Magufuli’s vision in Tanzania’s engagements in regional integration bodies. He said that Tanzania is of the view that SADC is stronger when there is integration and cooperation. But SADC cannot make full progress if one member is in political crisis. Three elections within five years do not just bring fatigue to voters, it disorient the badly-needed work force, preventing them to contribute effectively to daily economic activities but it also dwindle much-needed resources for the government.
Ambassador Mahiga flagged with SADC Secretariat together with members of SADC Organ with all SADC Elections
Observation Mission in a group photo.
In his speech, Ambassador Mahiga reminded the audience that as the continent celebrates fifty plus years of the African Unity, it is mind-boggling for Lesotho to still be pre-occupied with the basics of forming a stable government.
“Allow me to add that it is strange paradox indeed that on this 25th day of May, 2017 marking the historical occasion of the Commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity; when we should ordinarily be celebrating milestones in the advancement of our societies and the consolidation of our democratic institutions; we are still locked in protracted debates on the basic requirements of forming and stabilizing governments”.
Commenting on SADC engagement in Lesotho, United Nations Development Program Deputy Resident Representative in Lesotho Ms. Christy Ahenkora said SADC intervention and follow up was badly needed for Lesotho to carry out reforms which will stabilize its political set up focusing on how coalition government should operate.
Similarly, the Head of the European Union Delegation in Lesotho noted with keen interest the strong message from Ambassador Mahiga during the lunch of the mission and commended the organization for playing its part in Lesotho. The delegation has not brought in observers this time around, but it will deploy EUPlus Diplomatic Watch of 42 officials.
An applaud was also given to Tanzania and SADC Mission by the American Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho immediately after Hon. Mahiga's statement saying that candid observation by SEOM and deliberate efforts by SADC in Lesotho will bring about well-built democratic institutions and organization in the region.