When inaction becomes a reactionary force
LESOTHO has come to that point in history when inaction by some citizens translates into reactionary force that dissipates previous efforts by masses to fight for peace, justice and tranquility.
This year, more than ever before, those of us who neither registered, nor did but failed to actually vote, must be having a sense of guilt and regret.
It is the time when in their conscience, they have a strong feeling that their vote could have made a difference, and avoided the present political crisis we are experiencing. Those I have interacted with have demonstrated evidence that even those who before never cared about participating in the political process, are probably kicking their heels, cursing.
They are probably frustrated by the current outcome of political flirting by formerly divorced lovers who are attempting a “love-back”. The rapprochement is obviously fuelled more by individual self-serving interests than national interests.
It has finally dawned on them that they have no right to complain about the consequences of actions taken when they failed to exercise their given constitutional right to partici- pate in the entire electoral process.
The recent national election took place in, and under very trying circumstances. An entirely new and unprecedented era is unfolding after many years of what Chinese Communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China Mao Tse-tung would have termed a “resolute, heroic and indomitable struggle” waged by people who have had to make countless sacrifices amid untold hardships against poverty, corruption and unemployment.
In the entire country, decisive gains had been made by united political forces in the just struggle against all the challenges that confront us.
One such is the emergence of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) which contributed in filling an erstwhile void for uniting diverse opinions in Lesotho. We failed to institute our own version of the TRC (Truth & Reconciliation Commission) before the return to Constitutional Order in 1993, which could have contributed towards the healing of old wounds.
There remains a lot of unfinished business which is a prerequisite for true reconciliation in this country.
Nevertheless, the ABC has to the extent it could, united not only old traditional political foes (Congress and National), but also the broad working class, particularly in the textile industry.
Basotho have also not only matured politically, but are going through self-initiated positive transformation resulting in a situation where no one political force can dominate their life.
Unfortunately, it is obvious that the country remains disunited, which could result in a grave crisis if nothing is done to arrest the situation.
This has resulted in the incoming seven party coalition government which will soon prove unsustainable as it has no strong foundation. There is a strong element of Congress but we all know that lefika le ntse le theteha (Congress is prone to breaking up, as predicted and actually practised by the late Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle).
The question then becomes what ought Basotho to do under the circumstances? One obvious option is an urgent need to unite even more representatives of not only all political parties and groupings, but also all people without political party affiliation.
The net outcome of the above mentioned efforts would be the establishment of a strong diverse national democratic coalition. Its purpose would be to help institute genuine democratic reforms, surmount current political crises, mobilise and unify all anti-corruption and antipoverty forces in the country that the 8th Parliament fell short of attaining.
It is only such reforms that can enable Basotho to liberate themselves from the clutches of abject poverty and degradation. The proposed People’s National Coalition would then convene a National Dialogue whose nature would also be a coalition of broad democratic forces and civic groupings representing a wide spectrum of people without any political party affiliation.
Such a dialogue would have the responsibility to lead the liberated and conscientised people of Lesotho to translate the country’s 2020 Vision into an actionable programme for implementation by the country, beyond 2020.
The latter would surely build a truly free, independent, democratic, united, prosperous and powerful new Lesotho
for weakened parliamentary input not only for single organisations but the collective too. Perhaps this calls for the immediate strategic introspection and visioning for the maximum and coherent input of the collective.
What Basotho are expecting with keen interest again is how the election of the prime minister by parliament will be consummated given the flawed process since 1993 on this important issue. Section (7) (c) of the National Assembly Electoral provides that the IEC shall inform the Speaker of the election results.
Though no written law says how the Speaker should use the election results, the logic provides that since the Speaker is the member of the council of State, will notify it of the same hence the council would be in a position in terms of Section 87(1) to advice the King on who to appoint as the Prime Minister.
Section 87(2) of the constitution which reads: “The King shall appoint as the Prime Minister the member of the National Assembly who appears to the Council of State to be the leader of the political party or coalition of political party leaders that will command the support of a majority of the members of the National Assembly” has not been properly applied since 1993.
In terms of this provision, the prime minister will first be appointed on the basis of what appears to the Council of State to be the situation that will obtain in parliament.
In other words such an appointment would be of a prime minister designate, the position he or she will hold until parliament would have sat and demonstrated whether or not that PM designate really commands the support of the majority of the House.
Will this Section be used differently from the normal misapplication? Will Parliament be set to either confirm or reject the prime minister designate or will it be that what was done at Mosikong oa Thaba in 2015 just like what was done at the hotels in the previous years since 1993 will be taken to be the decision of National Assembly on who commands majority?