Let national interest hold sway in parly
BASOTHO wait with bated breath for the opening of the 9th Parliament tomorrow which signals an end to the period of dysfunction that culminated in the nine-month prorogation of parliament by former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last June.
Whether it was justified or not, the prorogation resulted in bills that were before parliament, both in the National Assembly and Senate, to be cancelled. They will, thus, need to be introduced anew when parliament resumes.
Thankfully, however, the governance train can finally get back on track after the nation seemed to be on auto pilot for the better half of last year.
The representatives Basotho elected during the 28 February 2015 National Assembly elections can finally start implementing the promises they made during the campaign trail. The seven party government can also finally consummate their Coalition Agreement and bring about the development Basotho have so long yearned for.
Parliament could not be opening soon enough since the passing of the budget by the august house is already behind schedule.
Because of the delay, the legislature could not play its role of examining and approving government expenditure.
However, it cannot be overemphasized that civility and the national interest must reign supreme in the conduct of our elected representatives.
Ultimately, the 9th Parliament must bequeath a lasting legacy of progressive legislation and not leave the electorate with a bad taste in the mouth.
It would be unfortunate if our legislators were to once again render void the objectives of King Letsie III’S Speech from the Throne by engaging in endless wrangling and one-upmanship.
No progressive Mosotho would want to see scenes akin to the fracas we have seen of late in the South African parliament where Economic Freedom Fighters Members of Parliament (MPS) had to be ejected from the august house by security agents for wreaking havoc.
MPS owe it to their electors to discharge their duties with the decorum that characterised the voting process during the general elections in February. There was no discernable violence during the polls, despite the palpable tension, with Basotho patiently waiting to see who would form government.
Now is the time to bring about the dignity to the governance process that Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili promised during the campaign trail. It cannot be the premier alone who brings back the sanity but all stakeholders involved.
Lesotho has lost a lot of political capital owing to the unsavoury events that characterised previous years both at a continental and global level, and it is parliament’s role to help regain that lost lustre.
So, it behooves all MPS to live up to the ideals that earned parliament the title of “august” house. This rule should apply across the political divide. While it is the opposition’s role to bring government to account for its policies and actions, antagonism for its own sake will not take this nation anywhere. It’s one thing to vigilantly fight for just principles and quite another to throw spanners in the government’s works merely for political mileage.
On the other hand, arrogance on the part of government would be its undoing as evidenced by the premature end of the previous coalition administration. As the old adage goes, “when two elephants fight, the grass suffers” and the results of the bruising tussle between congress and nationalist parties were all too clear for the whole world to see. Lesotho and Basotho are all the more poorer for it.
The scenes we saw during the swearing-in of MPS on 10 March in which Dr Mosisili, All Basotho Convention leader Thomas Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing chatted and laughed together were heartening. Long may they continue to help defuse the tension that had been brewing in the last session of the house.
Despite their well document differences, our legislators must find rapprochement on coining laws that bring about the industrialisation of the economy provide social services.