When in­ac­tion be­comes a re­ac­tionary force

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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

Nchafatso Sello.

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?

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