The National Reforms Authority (NRA) four-day high level reflective stakeholders forum took off to a vibrant, highly engaging and interactive start on Monday April 4th, 2022 at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre. The purpose of the august gathering was for NRA to report back on the progress on the work done so far in the implementation of national reforms as mandated by the Plenary II Report and the National Reforms Authority Act No 4 of 2019. Moreover, it was for the stakeholders to reflect on the options for the future of the Lesotho National Reforms process beyond 30th April 2022.
One thing was common, and remained a holding thread for varied views and opinion on the NRA’s performance thus far, in the implementation of the national reforms. The common denominator was that NRA had laid a solid foundation for continuation of the reforms, and they must thus be relentlessly and irreversibly continued. The NRA Chairman, Morena Pelele Letsoela set the ball rolling by conscientizing the forum participants that NRA’s significant strides should be understood in the context of a backdrop of debilitating challenges such as lack of office space, uncompetitive NRA salaries that were often declined by targeted competent candidates, inadequate financial resources for NRA, the lengthy red tape in Government procurement processes vis-à-vis NRA’s unrealistically tight deadlines, and the ever volatile raging COVID-19 pandemic that often forced scheduled activities to be put in abeyance, and many more.
“If NRA has achieved anything, it is to set the wheels in motion. The onus now lies with us all to, jointly & severally; individually and collectively, keep up the momentum all the way to the final destination, namely the attainment of “The Lesotho we Want”, so commented Morena Pelele, upon wrapping up his welcome remarks.
The Chairman’s sentiments were echoed by none other than the Head of Lesotho’s Government. “It is with pride that today, as we take a moment to reflect on our reforms journey, we do so at the backdrop of almost 90 constitutional amendments submitted to Government by the NRA, styled as the 11th Amendment to the Constitution. These laudable strides did not come easily… The Authority had to work tirelessly and with dedication to achieve what it has achieved today. The amount of work done in relation to the period in which it was undertaken is indeed unprecedented… Government is committed to ensuring that the process continues in a sustainable, transparent and inclusive manner, as to do otherwise now will erode all the strides made thus far”, so remarked The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Dr Moeketsi Majoro when officially opening the historic event.
Lesotho’s Development Partners also threw their weight behind NRA’s commendable efforts. In her remarks punctuated by a strong, unequivocal message of support, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Mrs Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, observed that the Lesotho’s reforms process had come a long way. “While facing the constraints of time and resources to deliver, the NRA and its Secretariat have managed to deliver on a number of significant reform legislations adopted by Plenary II…The journey so far has been long and tasking but worthwhile in many ways as it sets the Basotho on a path that shall have positive inter-generational effects in terms of peace, security, stability and development… It is therefore important that as leaders you all work together to ensure that the dialogue and reform process goes forward and any set-backs that may be encountered along the way are dealt with.”, so observed the UN Resident Coordinator.
According to the Prime Minister, the national reforms have, by extension, contributed significantly towards Lesotho’s image regionally and internationally, that has noticeably changed for the better. “I am gratified to openly share with you that our country’s international image is steadily improving. During the month of March, Lesotho, through our Ambassador in Addis Ababa, chaired the African Union Peace and Security Council and this was signified by the Council holding its meeting here in Lesotho last week. On 31st March 2022, the United States Government approved Lesotho’s $300 million second compact. In mid-May this year, Lesotho will sign the compact… As we all now know, Lesotho has deployed its forces in Mozambique to assist a fellow country that assisted in the past when there was need. This deployment alone signifies that Lesotho has now taken its position in the brotherhood of SADC. Finally, as our sister kingdom, Eswatini begins its reform process, Lesotho is the first country it is contemplating to visit to share in our experiences. This is a credit Lesotho has earned for the efforts she has undertaken to reform herself”.
If all goes according to schedule, Lesotho stands to taste the first fruits of her reforms process toil as early as in the forthcoming general elections presumably scheduled for October, this year. This is according to Dr. Majoro. “… We have requested the NRA to prepare a workplan on critical reforms work that needs to be undertaken before the upcoming elections. This workplan will inform the Government’s and stakeholders decision on how to proceed with the process post 30th April, 2022 when the life of the NRA comes to an end”, so remarked the Prime Minister, in conclusion.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NRA, Advocate Mafiroane Motanyane, presented a summary of the achievements that the Authority has made since its inauguration. He pointed out that the NRA has managed to develop an omnibus constitutional Bill and a few other legislative instruments including the Referendum Bill, Media Policy, Media Code of Conduct and Practice and others. In addition, the CEO indicated that the NRA held two national stakeholders fora on Peace, National Unity, Healing and Reconciliation and on the Development of the Security Sector Policy and Strategy Road Map, respectively, in July and December, 2021. He concluded his presentation by also indicating that the NRA has developed a National Reforms Website on which all the reforms initiatives done at the National Level will be archived.
Other activities of the forum, included presentations by chairpersons of committees of various thematic groups on the more detailed progress in their respective areas of responsibility. The presentations were followed by robust debates between and among forum participants.
The four-day NRA reflective forum ended on Thursday, April 7th, which day was also graced by the launching of the 2021 NRA Annual Report.
For more information, please contact NRA Public Relations Manager, Mr Motlatsi Nkhasi on +266 580 88 444. Email address; [email protected]