BNP govt to re­voke floor-cross­ing: ‘Maserib­ane

Lesotho Times - - News - Le­tuka Chafotsa

BUTHA-BUTHE — Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane says he would do away with par­lia­men­tary floor­cross­ing should his party be­come govern­ment af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary gen­eral elec­tions.

Ad­dress­ing a BNP cam­paign rally in Butha-buthe on Sun­day, chief ‘Maserib­ane said the will of the elec­torate was be­ing dis­re­garded through floor-cross­ing, in which Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) change their po­lit­i­cal par­ties or form new ones and take their seats with them.

“The feed­back we are get­ting from the peo­ple is that some politi­cians are not tak­ing the votes they would have been en­trusted with se­ri­ously,” chief ‘Maserib­ane said at the rally at­tended by party sup­port­ers from 13 Leribe and five Butha-buthe con­stituen­cies.

“There is a de­sire by the elec­torate for their rights to be en­shrined in the law, and the BNP would en­sure it be­comes a re­al­ity once in power.”

The BNP leader fur­ther noted a vote should be “a sa­cred trust” be­tween the elec­torate and can­di­dates, which must be pro­tected.

“i be­lieve politi­cians should not be free agents,” chief ‘Maserib­ane said.

“When they are voted into par­lia­ment rep­re­sent­ing a par­tic­u­lar po­lit­i­cal party, the peo­ple who elected them ex­pect MPS to stay put.”

chief ‘Maserib­ane said it was time a law was en­acted to reg­u­late floor-cross­ing to en­sure the elec­torate is not dis­en­fran­chised and en­sure the peo­ple’s will pre­vails.

The BNP leader also said his party would push for a law com­pelling MPS who switch par­ties to re­lin­quish their seats and con­test a by-elec­tion.

“There have been a few high-pro­file in­stances of floor-cross­ing in this coun­try that raised eye­brows and con­trib­uted to bring­ing the coun­try to where it is now,” chief ‘Maserib­ane, who is also Gen­der, Youth, Sports and Recre­ation min­is­ter, said.

He added the prac­tice is un­demo­cratic since an MP would have been elected by his or her con­stituents as a mem­ber of a par­tic­u­lar party. chang­ing par­ties, chief ‘Maserib­ane sur­mised, runs counter to the wishes of the elec­torate.

“The re­al­ity is no­body votes for a can­di­date with­out con­sid­er­ing what party he or she be­longs to,” he said.

“it would be a slap in the voter’s face when elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives join an­other party with­out seek­ing ap­proval.

“Party plat­forms are value-state­ments, and Ba­sotho con­nect with those val­ues. Ba­sotho know there are dif­fer­ences in the val­ues of po­lit­i­cal par­ties; they know the BNP is not the ABC (All Ba­sotho con­ven­tion).

“it is a grave in­jus­tice to treat their choices and po­lit­i­cal val­ues as though they have no con­se­quence. it is an in­sult to their in­tel­li­gence.”

Ac­cord­ing to chief ‘Maserib­ane, vot­ers are, more of­ten than not, par­ti­san and not par­tic­u­lar about lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of their cho­sen party.

“They use their vote as a proxy for the party leader they pre­fer and would like to see as a prime min­is­ter,” he said.

in the re­cently dis­solved eighth par­lia­ment, two MPS crossed the floor from the ABC. For­mer Koro-koro leg­is­la­tor, Thabiso litšiba, joined the main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic congress (Dc) from the ABC, while for­mer Jus­tice and cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Min­is­ter Mophato Monyake also quit the ABC and formed the Pro­gres­sive Democrats which is among the 23 par­ties con­test­ing the up­com­ing elec­tions.

Mean­while, chief ‘ Maserib­ane also said a Bnp-led govern­ment would en­sure the prime min­is­ter does not serve more than two, five-year terms.

“Many coun­tries are pre­cise and clear on the two-term ten­ure of their heads of state and govern­ment,” he said.

“But here, the prime min­is­ter can be in of­fice for as long as he or she is be­ing elected. This has to change and the ten­ure lim­ited for the devel­op­ment of our coun­try.”

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