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Maseru
April 22, 2024
Politics

LESOTHO FACES CRITICAL DEADLINE FOR MCC COMMITMENT AS LEGISLATIVES SCRUTINY INTENSIFIES 

Maseru, Mar. 26 — Lesotho faces a crucial deadline at the end of March to enact necessary legislation as part of its commitment to the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), valued at approximately $300 million.

Scheduled to commence on March 30, 2024, the MCC Compact hinges on the completion of legislative processes for three critical Bills, the Labour Bill, 2024, Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2024 and Administration of Estates and Inheritance Bill, 2024.

While the Bills received approval in the National Assembly, they encountered scrutiny during deliberations in the Senate, particularly the Administration of Estates and Inheritance Bill 2024. Concerns arose during a public consultation meeting convened by the Senators, where stakeholders highlighted perceived exclusions during the Bills formulation.

Mr. Rabuka Chalatsi from the Judicial Commissioners raised objections, citing contradictions with existing laws, particularly the Laws of Lerotholi and urged corrective measures before approval. He noted the clarity provided by Customary Law and the Constitution regarding inheritance procedures.

Mr. Lesiamo Ramahala Molapo expressed apprehension, cautioning against perceived capitulation to American interests. He invoked examples of other nations like China and Mexico resisting such influences, advocating for the preservation of Lesotho’s cultural integrity.

Legal advocate Mrs. Mazibongile Vilakazi echoed concerns, asserting that the Bill compromised Basotho autonomy for the sake of securing funds. She highlighted previous legislation safeguarding women’s inheritance rights and criticized the perceived imposition of foreign norms.

These sentiments were shared by the Principal Chiefs of Likhoele, Mamathe and Thaba-Bosiu who emphasized the adverse impact on their traditional roles and community dynamics. They opposed provisions transferring inheritance responsibilities to the Master of the High Court, saying the indispensability of chiefs in resolving inheritance disputes.

Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Dr. Retsélisitsoe Matlanyane stressed the necessity of passing these Bills to secure MCC funding, indicating previous benefits like clinic construction.

Failure to enact the Bills risks jeopardizing Lesotho’s eligibility for MCC funding, potentially affecting the country’s developmental trajectory. 

MCC Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Cameron Alford, reiterated this requirement during engagements in Maseru, highlighting the importance of legislative compliance for Lesotho’s participation in the MCC Compact. 

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