The Commonwealth and the United Nations have pledged to continue working with local and regional institutions to support the peacebuilding process and governance reform agenda in Lesotho.
The Secretary-General travelled to Lesotho on 24 April to offer support as the country prepares for general elections on 3 June following a no-confidence vote in parliament and the collapse of its coalition government.
On the first day of her mission, she met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mamphono Khaketla, Lesotho’s newly-appointed High Commissioner to the UK, John Oliphant, the Chairperson of Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission, Mahapela Lehohla, Commissioner Makase Nyaphisi, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative Christy Ahenkora, and Peace and Development Adviser George Wachira.
In all meetings the Secretary-General praised political parties for signing a pledge to implement the agenda to reform the country’s governance. She reaffirmed Commonwealth support to Lesotho in implementing this reform and stressed the need for robust structures and mechanisms to ensure its delivery.
Discussions with the UNDP representatives centred on opportunities for continued collaboration in support of Lesotho’s democracy and development.
“At this critical juncture of Lesotho’s journey to parliamentary and governance reform, it is vital that local, regional and international bodies such as the Christian Council of Lesotho, Southern African Development Community, UNDP, and the Commonwealth are united and collaborating, said Secretary-General Scotland.
“We all have longstanding engagements with the country, spanning decades. We each bring something special to the table - whether it is sharing best practice, mobilising experts and envoys to offer intimate support to democratic institutions, promoting tolerance and understanding or simply being the voice of calm and peace during elections.”
In 2014 the Commonwealth launched a set of guidelines on effective coalition formation in collaboration with UNDP. Produced by Commonwealth special envoy Rajen Prasad, the guidelines, along with an in-depth report and a mission to New Zealand to study its parliamentary and governance system, paved the way for the creation of a roadmap to reform.
“It is clear from my engagement with stakeholders in Lesotho so far that there is a strong desire for change and the implementation of the reform process to which parties have committed. I am reassured that whatever the outcome of the upcoming general elections, this reform agenda and a strategic and action-oriented roadmap will remain a priority.”
During her visit the Secretary-General will meet with King Letsie III, the prime minister and other government ministers, leaders of political parties as well as faith-based groups and other local NGOs.