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Africa | Lesotho
Politics | Society

Lesotho launches APRM country review mission

afrol News, 24 March - The Lesotho government has today launched the African Peer Review Mechanism country review mission to validate the findings of the self assessment report. The 14 member mission which landed in the capital yesterday, will hold five consultative meetings in the next three weeks in five districts.

Lesotho's APRM national governing council had announced the completion of the national self assessment in January this year, opening doors for the country to be reviewed by its peers under Africa's ambitious programme.

At the launch of the review mission, prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili, said although the self review process has faced a number of challenges, it has persevered and thrived to make the self assessment ready for review. "The challenges ignited the quest to see the assessment ready and invite our peers to review our governance," he said.

Lesotho which began the national assessment in 2007, according to Mr Mosisili, believes the report remains the true reflection of all ordinary citizens as it has managed to cover all the country’s ten districts.

"APRM should not just be an exercise in futility, but should have positive effect on the ground," he said.

The programme established by the African Union Summit in Durban South Africa about six years ago, has only 29 member states that have voluntarily acceded to the process, putting their governments under peers scrutiny.

The peer review has however also faced serious criticism taking into consideration that African governments are reluctant to criticise each other. However, Mr Mosisili said the trend has changed among leaders.

According to the prime minister, the self assessment programme, has provided a forum for public participation, thus enabling ordinary citizenry to discuss their issues of concern.

The Head of the Mission, Professor Adebayo Adedeji said the mission will be dispersed throughout the country to verify some of the issues raised in the reports. "This is a tough process, but it gives the country credibility," he said.

The Lesotho national assessment report which has been handed to the review mission has among other things revealed irregularities and endemic corruption in both government and private institutions.

Some of the challenges as indicated by business sector, are having to operate under the old Companies Act which they feel is outdated and should be reviewed as it does not meet the current needs of the business.

The report further reveals poor infrastructure, technology, water and sanitation as some of the challenges that should be given urgent attention if the Lesotho government is wiling to attract investors into the country.

Lesotho voluntarily acceded the APRM in 2004 during the AU Summit in Ethiopia. It's accession was regarded as a courageous political choice and decision not only to agree to be bound by the political principles underpinning the APRM, but to submit to self-scrutiny. The processes, including establishing a secretariat only began in 2006.

The APRM is an African self-monitoring mechanism, voluntarily acceded to by member states of the African Union (AU) that aims at fostering the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, good governance, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated regional and continental economic integration through sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful and best practices.

Since its establishment in 2003, a number of countries have submitted themselves for self-assessment and scrutiny that include Ghana, Angola, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, Kenya among others. Lesotho will be the 11th country to be reviewed.

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