“From its inception, Lesotho’s coalition government was faced with serious challenges, one of which was balancing high popular expectations for change against contending political visions and limited resources.” So argued Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), an advocacy local organization on its concept note on the National Pre-election Peace Dialogue set for 18th – 19th November, 2014 in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho.
The conference aims at providing a platform and forum for Lesotho’s leaders to reflect on governance crisis, transitional political development since independence, and ways in which peace-based governance can be encouraged as the country builds up to the general elections in 2015.
The objectives of the forum are to;
- Galvanize political tolerance among political parties ahead of the elections;
- Create dialogue on fundamental values of administration of the coalition government;
- Cultivate understanding and good practices brought by transitions that the country has experience sine independence,
- Encourage and facilitate the commitment of political parties to a peaceful election through the adoption of a series of peace messages,
- Encourage political parties to include explicit peace messages in their 2015 manifestos and
- Develop CSOs election monitoring and peace building road-map for parties compliance on dialogue recommendations.
Lesotho goes to the poll in February 2015 after the election was brought forwards as a measure to restore political stability due to a fall out within the coalition government of three parties.
“We need to build and set up stage for peace and stability well ahead of the coming election and maintain that situation.” He said Lira Theko, Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights Department of the organisation.
Theko firmly believes a building of peace and stability is “surely to have economic benefits” such as attracting both local and international investment for economic development of Lesotho.
The conference will also encourage intra-party peace building structures and conflict resolution mechanisms as part of consolidating post election democracy.
At this conference political leaders will sign public statements committing themselves to promotion of peace messages as part of their campaign strategies. The TRC will also ensure that such leadership will work with non-governmental organizations as attract conflict management skills within their structures.
Topics to be covered will include electoral transition from 2002 to 2012, the mixed member proportion model and the first past the post electoral system and the media role in conflict management and resolution.
Participants at the dialogue are to include leaders from the civil society organizations, political parties, media, parliament, the electoral commission as well as the judiciary.
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