Come get your milk­shakes

. . . now that you are back in Par­lia­ment

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

CONGRADULATIONS, congradulations, congradulations op­po­si­tion Mps. You have done the right thing by re­turn­ing to Par­lia­ment. I know in proper English, we must say Con­grat­u­la­tions. But for the sake of em­pha­sis, I have de­cided to make a Sotho adap­ta­tion of the English word Con­grat­u­la­tions to read and mean Congradulations. I have sub­sti­tuted the “t” in con­grat­u­la­tions with a “d”.

This em­pha­sis is meant to un­der­line my grat­i­tude, ela­tion and hap­pi­ness at your wise de­ci­sion to re­turn to Par­lia­ment. You see a “d” con­veys a deeper mean­ing in Sotho than a “t”. That is why we pro­nounce our “l” in Sotho as a “d”. “D” de­notes some high mean­ing, re­spect and hon­our. So well done MPS. But for any stu­dents read­ing this ar­ti­cle, please don’t adopt the term congradulations in your ex­ams. It’s Scru­ta­tor’s own adap­ta­tion for the pur­pose of this ar­ti­cle only. Just stick and keep on us­ing the term con­grat­u­la­tions if you ever have to make ref­er­ence to it in your ex­ams.

You will all re­call that I have been harp­ing about the need for op­po­si­tion MPS to re­turn to Par­lia­ment over my sev­eral pre­vi­ous col­umns. I want to thank you all of you op­po­si­tion MPS for lis­ten­ing to my ad­vice. Please come and I give you all your milk­shakes as promised. But you have to come to my of­fice one by one and not as one large group. I can­not han­dle a group of 40 some­thing peo­ple at once even if you form an or­derly queue.

Re­turn­ing to Par­lia­ment is a wise de­ci­sion. Your de­ci­sion to boy­cott Par­lia­ment had be­come as ster­ile as it was in­ef­fec­tual. Let me re­peat my­self again. Boy­cotts can be a good strat­egy if they are aimed at achiev­ing some­thing.

But boy­cotts be­come ster­ile and in­ef­fec­tual when they be­come an end in them­selves. In your case, your boy­cott was now de­priv­ing you of the use of the most im­por­tant plat­form to air your views on all per­ti­nent is­sues.

For the long pe­ri­ods that you stayed away from Par­lia­ment, you did not achieve any­thing. King Kamoli, your num­ber one neme­sis, be­came an Em­peror. Your lead­ers re­mained en­sconced in ex­ile. None of the things you de­manded hap­pened. Con­tin­u­ing with the boy­cott thus be­came spu­ri­ous.

Now that you are back in Par­lia­ment, you have a proper plat­form to high­light your is­sues. You can stand on the roof of the Na­tional As­sem­bly and shout your con­cerns.

You can toyi-toyi in the House to vent your anger. You stand a bet­ter chance of get­ting lis­tened to while in the Na­tional As­sem­bly than shout­ing in bars in Khu­bet­soana or in Mafeteng un­der the pre­text of boy­cotting.

You can also heckle Ntate Mo­sisili in the Na­tional As­sem­bly with bet­ter ef­fect than do­ing so away from the gaze of the pub­lic.

The most im­me­di­ate thing to be done now is for ABC MPS to dis­patch a tele­gram to Ficks­burg and im­plore good old Ntate Mot­soa­hae and his beloved Li­a­biloe to pick and ap­point a shadow cab­i­net.

The shadow cab­i­net min­is­ters should then shadow all their cur­rent coun­ter­parts in the govern­ment and hold them ac­count­able.

We fol­low the Bri­tish West­min­ster tra­di­tion and it baf­fles all logic that Cy­clone Tom shuf­fled to Ficks­burg with­out ap­point­ing a shadow cab­i­net. Any ap­pointed shadow min­is­ters must nev­er­the­less avoid the risk of be­com­ing real shad­ows. They must do some se­ri­ous work in scru­ti­niz­ing all the work of those they are shad­ow­ing and de­vis­ing counter pol­icy pro­pos­als where th­ese are needed.

If Ntate Mot­soa­hae is not com­ing back soon, then he must also des­ig­nate his deputy, Ntate Khasu, to be­come the of­fi­cial leader of the op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment. Ntate Khasu can then shadow the Prime Min­is­ter, Ntate Mo­sisili.

I am as­sum­ing Ntate Khasu did not de­fect to the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD). If Ntate Khasu does in­deed pro­ceed to re­join the LCD, then Ntate Mot­soa­hae will have no op­tion but to end his long Ficks­burg va­ca­tion and re­turn to Par­lia­ment.

Oth­er­wise, he will come back one day to dis­cover he has no party left to lead. You can only rise on a wave of pub­lic sym­pa­thy for so long.

De­pend­ing on how this govern­ment per­forms, the good­will and sym­pa­thy that the op­po­si­tion gar­nered as a re­sult of re­cent mis­for- tunes like Ntate Maa­parankoe’s bru­tal killing might dis­si­pate.

Peo­ple would then make their choices on the ba­sis of real bread and but­ter is­sues. A party with­out proper lead­er­ship to pro­nounce on th­ese is­sues might then suf­fer some se­vere set­backs.

Now that the op­po­si­tion MPS are back in Par­lia­ment, let’s have ro­bust de­bate on pol­icy mat­ters aimed at lift­ing Le­sotho from pe- ren­nial squalor. Let’s have the op­po­si­tion MPS cri­tiquing the re­cently de­liv­ered bud­get or even tabling their own ri­val one to prove how good they can be at gov­er­nance. Since Aun­tie Keke can­not ap­point a shadow cab­i­net with her one lone ranger MP.

And nei­ther can Ntate Th­e­sele with his hand­ful of MPS who can be counted on one palm, I sug­gest a proper op­po­si­tion al­liance be­tween the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) , the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) to con­sti­tute a shadow cab­i­net to track the ef­forts of the seven party coali­tion govern­ment.

If the ABC de­cides to go it alone, there is a risk that the BNP and RCL might then be­come ir­rel­e­vant as they don’t have enough MPS to shadow ev­ery­one in the gov­ern- ment.

If a proper op­po­si­tion coali­tion shadow cab­i­net is forged, then Scru­ta­tor hopes that Ntate Mot­soa­hae will not reg­u­larly spring up to dis­patch tele­grams from Ficks­burg fir­ing shadow min­is­ters willy-nilly.

We need ro­bust de­bate and in­tra­party en­gage­ments in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. Shadow Min­is­ters must set­tle in their shadow port­fo­lios and be al­lowed time to un­der­stand is­sues and prof­fer al­ter­na­tive ideas.

This is more so af­ter the long pro­tracted boy­cott dur­ing which many MPS would have lost touch with the re­al­i­ties of govern­ment and gov­ern­ing.

For us to move our blighted coun­try for­ward there has to be some level of deco­rum and sin­gle-mind­ed­ness in how mat­ters are han­dled in Par­lia­ment. There are is­sues over which there should be no dis­pute like the much needed se­cu­rity sec­tor re­forms.

King Kamoli and his men must be con­fined to the bar­racks and they should not be in­volved in polic­ing mat­ters which must be a pre­serve of the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice.

There are many other con­tentious is­sues over which con­sen­sus will be re­quired. The fate of King Kamoli him­self be­ing one of them.

How­ever, I be­lieve with all political par­ties ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing in ro­bust Na­tional As­sem­bly de­bates, some com­mon ground will even­tu­ally be reached on most, if not all, of the con­tentious is­sues.

So once again, con­grat­u­la­tions or rather congradulations to all you op­po­si­tion MPS for de­cid­ing to re­turn to Par­lia­ment. That is the right thing to do.

Now, please shows us sub­stance and shadow all serv­ing min­is­ters and keep us in­formed about where you agree with them, where you dis­agree with them and why. That is the essence of a func­tional democ­racy.

Re­mem­ber, be­ing in op­po­si­tion does not mean trash­ing ev­ery­thing that in­cum­bents are do­ing. Give credit where it is due and dish out crit­i­cism where it is de­served.

I hate in­sti­tu­tions and peo­ple who speak with forked tongues. I thus be­lieve that the Euro­pean Union (EU) is be­ing grossly disin­gen­u­ous in ex­plain­ing why they are with­hold­ing nearly M500 mil­lion in bud­getary sup­port to the govern­ment.

Iam not ques­tion­ing the right of the EU to with­hold or give their money to whomever they want. Since this is money that had long been pledged to Le­sotho, and some of it had al­ready been dis­bursed, I think the EU should be clear on why they are with­hold­ing this bud­getary aid.

Hav­ing read the EU press state­ment on the mat­ter, I am not sure I was left any wiser. In sus­pend­ing this aid pack­age, the EU prof­fered some vague ex­pla­na­tion, ac­cus­ing the govern­ment of not hav­ing fully im­ple­mented agreed re­forms in the pub­lic sec­tor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment arena.

In an­nounc­ing their de­ci­sion to sus­pend the bud­getary sup­port, the EU did not even bother to out­line what re­forms had not been im­ple­mented so that we are all in the know. The EU’S state­ment was very cryp­tic.

This left Scru­ta­tor won­der­ing whether the EU’S de­ci­sion had any­thing to do with a de­sire to see the rec­om­men­da­tions of the SADC com­mis­sion re­port into Le­sotho’s in­sta­bil­ity fully im­ple­mented be­fore any money is re­leased.

If this is in­deed the case, then I think the EU owes it to ev­ery­one to ex­plain this is­sue in a straight­for­ward man­ner and in suf­fi­cient de­tail.

Sim­ply ac­cus­ing the govern­ment of not hav­ing done cer­tain things with­out out­lin­ing in great de­tail what th­ese un­ful­filled things are is sim­ply grotesque if not pre­pos­ter­ous. It does not pro­mote ac­count­abil­ity.

But that’s of course a story for an­other day. My main con­cern this week is my ela­tion with the de­ci­sion of op­po­si­tion MPS to re­turn to Par­lia­ment.

Let’s hope their re­turn fos­ters the ro­bust dis­cus­sions and de­bate about is­sues af­fect­ing this coun­try.

So once again MPS, come get your milk­shakes as per my prom­ise last week.

Ache !!!!

ABC MPS sing in Par­lia­ment while protest­ing against the SADC re­port tabled by Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili in this file pic­ture.

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