CAN DIALOGUE NOT RESOLVE THE ARTICLE 10 IMPASSE?
Though the recent memorandum of understanding between government and the opposition under the leadership of Facilitation Team Leader retired Justice Dikhang Moseneke marked an end to the latest pull-out threat by opposition in the highly anticipated reforms process, it has met serious objection from some quarters in the Basotho populace that it is unconstitutional, is a smart way of subverting ends of justice and therefore unacceptable.
The article provides moratorium on the criminal cases facing Leader of Lesotho Congress for Democracy and the similarly placed persons. The fear is that doing so may lead to the total neglect of the cases as politicians may use reforms to negotiate, legalise and therefore glorify their impunity. On the basis of this threat some people resorted to court. The decision of the court is likely to either uphold or declare article 10 unconstitutional. In both circumstances the reforms would be affected negatively. For those who value inclusivity, the manner in which this impasse is resolved should ensure that all parties stay put in the process. Following the public debate, it would be a tint if the court can rule out fear of families and those related to the victims. In fact reconciliation that disregards victims is oppression and will not heal. On the other hand, Lesotho cannot wait, reforms must start. This calls for a win-win solution which is more likely with dialogue than litigation route hence the question can dialogue help resolve this impasse?
DPE believes that dialogue as a form of resolving differences has opportunity than any other form to provide a solution that considers interests at stakes and the future desired. The nature of reforms is not yet agreed and the possibility is that it may take long or even end up in the manner feared by the “victims”. Can Leaders’ Forum and even National Multi-stakeholder Dialogue agree on the time-conscious planning that allows for short term, medium and long term categories. If this is done then in the short term it could be only critical issues related to the stability of governance namely clarity on formation of government, no election in the period less than five years, regulation of floor crossing and motion of floor crossing. In this case the anticipated moratorium can be applicable in the short term which should not be more than 3 months. In this period it is understood that the situation would have improved and the threat to the safety of the exiled leaders would been effectively dealt with.
Dialogue is the very first among eight principles on which culture of peace is based. Two decades ago culture of peace was defined as ‘a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations (UN,1999: Resolution A/RES/53/243, Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace).