The Lesotho National Dialogue and Stabilisation Project (LNDSP) was launched in Maseru on June 25, 2018 by Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lesego Makgothi. Funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and managed by UNDP, the LNDSP is seeking to facilitate consensus building and catalyse a conducive environment for the long-anticipated national reforms in Lesotho.
The project’s specific aims include generating a national agreement on the content and processes of comprehensive political reforms and national reconciliation in Lesotho; supporting preparatory steps towards the reform of the security sector; and enhancing the participation of the Lesotho public in the national dialogue and reforms through access to timely and accurate information. Women empowerment and human rights will be mainstreamed throughout the project.
The launch ceremony was attended by amongst others, government ministers and senior civil servants, opposition leaders, international development partners, Heads of UN Agencies resident in Lesotho, and the project’s implementing partners who include the Government of Lesotho, Southern African Development Community (SADC), United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Women, Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) and Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (LCN).
In his address to the gathering, the UN Resident Coordinator, Salvator Niyonzima, congratulated the Government and all the partners; national and international who have joined together to make this project possible. “I especially thank the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs for his leadership and passion for this project.”
Mr. Salvator narrated the genesis and developmental stages of the project starting with the pledge by Lesotho political parties to prioritize reforms after the June 3, 2017 poll, to key UN’s responses that included the deployment of team of experts who consulted stakeholders and supported the Government to develop a Reforms Framework and Roadmap titled, “The Lesotho We Want: Dialogue and Reforms for National Transformation - Vision, Overview and Roadmap.”
Mr. Salvator further expressed the hope that the project would “indeed ignite a fire of consensus, commitment and a shared determination to carry forward with substantive reforms for the greater good of the country.” He invoked the legacy of the Great Founder of the Kingdom, King Moshoeshoe I, who built the nation on a rich history and tradition of consensus, peace and diplomacy among Basotho and between Basotho and their neighbours. “Indeed, the peace tradition of the Basotho is condensed in the famous words of King Moshoeshoe I: “KHOTSO KE KHAITSELI EAKA” (“Peace is my sister” – or brother), emphasised Niyonzima.
In his address, Minister Makgothi thanked the United Nations Secretary General as well as the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) “for heeding our call and generously supporting the aspect of the reforms process with a generous amount of USD2 million.” The Minister also announced that the Government had set aside 7.9 million Maloti ($500,000) to support the reforms process and that a part of that money will be used to support the project. The Minister invited all Basotho nation to come together under the universal identity and pride, to support the implementation of this important project that will shape the Lesotho political and democratic future.
The major component of the LNDSP is the multi-stakeholder national dialogue which will include preliminary consultations leading to a National Leaders Forum for the purpose of ‘political level consensus-building’; two national stakeholder dialogue plenaries; and at least seventy-six community level consultations in between the first and the second national dialogue plenaries. A national communication strategy is intended to ensure the Lesotho public has access to timely and accurate information on the national dialogue and the reforms. UNDP, working closely with the Government of Lesotho and the partners, has the ultimate responsibility for the project’s results and management.