|Overview : |
Over its long history, there were times the Kingdom of Lesotho has experienced political instability, violent conflicts and insecurity such as in 1998. These experiences constrained the performances of state and governance institutions and their ability to deliver public services. There has also been experiences of continuous splintering of political parties, which, in recent years, affected the ability to put in place stable governments that complete their five-year terms. Three-elections in five years (2012-2017), for instance, resulted in weaker state and governance institutions and presented unpredictable situation. Political parties’ proliferation is exacerbated by the decline in support, in terms of numbers both at a party level but also at the polls. This forces the main parties to agree to coalition governments with relatively smaller parties. In the first three coalition governments, the conditions and agreements co-governing were formulated on expedited basis immediately after election results are known - and the agreement are not largely carefully scrutinized, regulated and regularly monitored.
As such, inter-and-intra-party infighting and mistrust characterize most of the political parties in the country, which add to the challenges of governance in the country and weaken the focus of government on policy formulation and implementation over a five-year period – and lead to the collapse of governments. As country-wide mechanisms to resolve these challenges, the ongoing national reforms process provides lots of hope and practical solutions to make changes and improvements in various sectors, which include constitutional, parliamentary, judiciary, public administration, security sector, economic and media reforms.
In addition to the UN’s support to the national reforms process, the challenges in the country necessitate: (1) continued and tailored support that help build national capacities for conflict prevention, mediation and transformation for both governmental and non-governmental organisations; and, (2) the development of intra-and-inter-party democracy, consensus building and formation and running of coalition governments among political parties and influential elite. In line with this the overall objective of the project entitled ‘Support to Conflict Prevention, Party Democracy and Consensus Building’ is to (1) enhance local peace making and mediation initiatives including an inclusive national infrastructure for peace and community policing; (2) increase the number and profile of women mediators in the country; and, (3) strengthen intra-and-inter-party democracy and consensus building among political parties and other influential social and political actors.
The project is an enhanced continuation of the support UN has been providing to conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives in Lesotho, which include support to the Heads of Churches and the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL). The promotion and development of National Peace Architecture (NPA) intends to build on UNDP’s support for the establishment and functioning of local peace-making committees in Mafeteng district – and accomplishments made by civil society organisations such as CCJP and DPE. The project approach is gender-sensitive and takes measures to address the situation and contribution of women for peace and security.