GNU not fea­si­ble - An­a­lysts

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

THE mooted government of na­tional unity (GNU) fronted by the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion ( ABC) and a fac­tion of the Demo­cratic Congress (DC) would more likely be a grand coali­tion given that Le­sotho is be­set by a po­lit­i­cal and not a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis.

This was the pre­vail­ing view among an­a­lysts dur­ing the on­go­ing Le­sotho Coun­cil of Non-gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tions ( LCN) 17th NGO Week at ’Man­thabiseng Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Maseru.

The NGO Week be­gan on Mon­day and is ex­pected to end to­mor­row with the stated aim of fa­cil­i­tat­ing and build­ing link­ages be­tween or­di­nary cit­i­zens and government to en­sure greater ac­count­abil­ity.

Held un­der the theme “De­mand­ing Rule of Law, Ac­count­abil­ity and Civic Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the next Semi-cen­ten­nial of Le­sotho” the NGO Week is fea­tur­ing var­i­ous so­cio-eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal ex­perts.

Dur­ing a ses­sion ti­tled “Government of Na­tional Unity: Prin­ci­ples and Rel­e­vancy in Le­sotho”, con­sti­tu­tional law ex­pert Ad­vo­cate Hoolo ‘Nyane said a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis was the main cause of GNUS and not the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis rock­ing Le­sotho.

He made the com­ment in light of last week’s sign­ing of a coali­tion pact be­tween a fac­tion of the DC sup­port­ing the party’s deputy leader Monyane Moleleki and the tri­par­tite op­po­si­tion bloc meant to oust the cur­rent seven-party gov­ern­ing coali­tion and form a GNU.

The pact is ti­tled “The Coali­tion Agree­ment for Na­tional Unity and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion” with the ABC, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho sign­ing on a deal that would see Mr Moleleki head the coali­tion for the first 18 months upon form­ing government.

The al­liance has also in­vited all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to join the coali­tion which is meant to be in­clu­sive.

Adv ‘Nyane, who is a con­sti­tu­tional law lec­turer at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho, said Le­sotho’s sec­ond coali­tion government could have pos­si­bly un­rav­elled due to a smaller party in the al­liance hav­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ate in­flu­ence over the oth­ers, in ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD).

The DC formed a coali­tion government with the LCD, Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party (MFP), Ba­sotho Congress Party (BCP), Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party (NIP), Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (LPC) and Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy (PFD) af­ter the snap 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tion re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

The DC won 47 of the 120 par­lia­men­tary seats on of­fer, while the LCD, PFD, BCP, LPC, MFP and NIP took 12, two, one, one, one and one seat re­spec­tively.

The DC fac­tion sup­port­ing Mr Moleleki has of­ten ac­cused the LCD of fo­ment­ing strife in the main coali­tion part­ner with the in­ten­tion of swal­low­ing the party.

“The DC - ABC pact brings to life a grand coali­tion made up of two big po­lit­i­cal par­ties as op­posed to past coali­tions that were made up of one big party and smaller par­ties,” he said.

“These big par­ties pre­sume they will co­erce all oth­ers to en­ter into an agree­ment they ne­go­ti­ated ex­clu­sively on their own, and have oth­ers join them with­out hav­ing been part art of the for­mu­la­tion team.” m.”

Adv ‘ Nyane, yane, how­ever, noted a GNU was un­likely giveniven the in­fight­ing in the DC and the LCD’S s dis­in­cli­na­tion to joinn the al­liance. The strife-torn -torn DC has two dis­tinct ct fac­tions – Lithope (loosely trans­lated ted to girl­friends)) and Liru­rubele ele ( but­ter­flies) es) – sup­port­ing ting party lead­erder Prime Min­is­nis­ter Pakalitha ha Mo­sisili andnd his deputy ty Monyane e Moleleki re­spec­tively. “We know that the DC is split into two war­ring fac­tions and one of the fac­tions doesn’t iden­tify with the so-called GNU,” he said. “The LCD has pub­licly an­nounced it does not iden­tify with the GNU and ex­pressed shock that its name was af­fixed to the agree­ment. This brings about a con­cep­tual prob­lem for this union en­tered into by the DC and the ABC.” Adv ‘ Nyane also stated that GNUS were mostly es­tab­lished in coun­tries fac­ing con­sti­tu­tional crises and not the po­lit­i­cal cha chal­lenges Le­sotho is fac­ing. “GNUS, by their very n na­ture, are tem­po­rary for­ma­tion for­ma­tions that pre­pare a coun­try for a fresh elec­tion. In Le­sotho, w we have a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis and it is not cor­rect to de­scribe it as a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis,” h he said, adding Le­sotho’s 1993 Con­sti­tu­tion was still func­tion func­tional. “Those w who are propos­ing a GNU are try­ing to ef­fect sect sec­tion 87 of the Co Con­sti­tu­tion of L Le­sotho which deals with t the for­ma­tion of gov­ern gov­ern­ments

and the col­lapse thereof in this coun­try.

“Re­fer­ring to the pact as a GNU agree­ment just seems to be a motto. Con­sti­tu­tion­ally, in terms of sec­tion 87 (2), it would be an­other coali­tion government that would give the po­lit­i­cal land­scape a breath of fresh air. It would likely be a grand coali­tion as op­posed to the past coali­tion gov­ern­ments.”

Trans­for­ma­tion Re­source Cen­tre (TRC) Direc­tor Tšoeu Pet­lane said GNUS where the prod­uct of a le­git­i­macy cri­sis in the state.

“A GNU is a tool used to rede­fine, iden­tify and build the kind of polity we need and its in­sti­tu­tions. It’s not a so­lu­tion on its own; but it is used as a driver to get us to the an­swer,” he said.

“A GNU’S mem­ber­ship is in­clu­sive to en­sure the at­tain­ment of its set ob­jec­tives.”

For his part, TRC Pro­grammes Man­ager Lenka Thamae, said the al­liance was merely for po­lit­i­cal con­ve­nience and “did not have any mu­tual core val­ues”.

He said it was ironic that the ABC had teamed up with Mr Moleleki whom they ac­cused of cor­rup­tion dur­ing the first coali­tion government.

“I think the ABC is be­tray­ing the rev­o­lu­tion as Moleleki is not part of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary pro­gramme that was tak­ing place in the coun­try,” said Mr Thamae.

“They were fight­ing an anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, but they are be­com­ing ir­rel­e­vant and not ad­dress­ing the main agenda.”

trc Pro­grammes Man­ager Lenka thamae.

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