President John Magufuli Wins Global Accolades… For ‘Job Well Done’ At SADC

President John Magufuli has won accolades from the international community for his impeccable leadership of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security cooperation, even as the Community ushers Lesotho into yet another parliamentary election, the third within five years.

Representatives from international organisations operating within SADC region, and Lesotho in particular, including the United Nations and European Union have commended SADC’s urgent call to the incoming government for serious structural and constitutional reforms.

During the recent launch of SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) in Lesotho,the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, reiterated SADC’s mandate to the current government to undertake reforms in order to stabilise 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 Briefing members of SADC Secretariat before the launch, Ambassador Mahiga said that it was upon SADC that leaders of the next government of Lesotho be held accountable to carry out the reforms.

“President 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.

A similar message was shared at the launch by all stakeholders about the commitment of President Magufuli, to stabilise the political situation in the mountain kingdom as well as within the SADC region. He said that the work of the 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 stabilise the country” he added.

As Tanzania is about to finish its term as head of this important organ of the community, Ambassador Mahiga said he was simply executing President Magufuli’s vision in Tanzania’s engagements in regional integration bodies.

He said that Tanzania was of the view that SADC was stronger with strong 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, they disorient the badly needed work force, preventing them to contribute effectively to daily economic activities but they also dwindle much-needed resources for the government.

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 preoccupied with the basics of forming a stable government.

“Allow me to add that it’s a 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 stabilising governments.”

Commenting on SADC engagement in Lesotho, United Nations Development Programme Deputy Resident Representative in Lesotho Ms. Christy Ahenkora said SADC intervention and follow-up was badly needed for Lesotho to carry out reforms which would stabilise its political set-up focusing on how its 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 launch 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 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.

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Source: Tanzania Daily News

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