Ninth parly doomed from the start

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis -

THE re­con­struc­tion of a crime scene helps to es­tab­lish or ver­ify some facts, pos­si­bil­i­ties, clues etc as ev­i­dence. The fate of the Ninth Par­lia­ment can, as well, be viewed as a scene of a failed par­lia­ment whose doom was sig­naled on the very first day of its in­au­gu­ra­tion by His Majesty the King.

i. Early signs of doom: Two op­po­si­tion non-congress par­ties snubbed a cus­tom­ary wel­come assem­bly by all MPS and Pre­sid­ing Of­fi­cers of both Houses to re­ceive the Head of State at a mil­i­tary Guard of Honor.

This is part of par­lia­men­tary eti­quette ex­tended to the Head of State. They chose to re­main in the Cham­ber. Only the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho at­tended.

At that time, no one sensed that the Ninth Par­lia­ment was doomed to end sooner than any other pre­vi­ous par­lia­ments since 1993.

How, with­out a Shadow Cab­i­net, the op­po­si­tion com­pris­ing three par­ties would con­duct its busi­ness as an op­po­si­tion showed their pref­er­ence for an ap­proach of God for us all ( qobola-se`a-cha), where each MP would be at lib­erty to catch the Speaker’s eye dur­ing pro­ceed­ings.

More of­ten than not, the op­po­si­tion tended to be ag­i­tated dur­ing some sit­tings. There were in­ci­dents when some MPS had to be named and or­dered to leave the House. This could be a les­son for our par­lia­ment to adopt more pro­gres­sive ap­proaches to par­lia­men­tary work.

It de­serves to have suit­able whip­pery and use of Speaker’s lists dur­ing some pro­ceed­ings. This could be one ma­jor re­form move from the old to the 21st cen­tury par­lia­men- tary prac­tice.

The boy­cott of sit­tings through stay aways over many days and weeks was their other con­temp­tu­ous re­sort to flag their dis­ap­proval of ei­ther the de­ci­sions or pow­ers of Pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers.

ii. Signs of fa­tigue: was a build up to another cli­max after the re­turn of the ex­iled lead­ers.

It is this that even dis­abled the pre­sen­ta­tion of the 2017/18 bud­get. The Ninth Par­lia­ment had real ups and downs, cul­mi­nat­ing in its dis­so­lu­tion.

iv. Num­bers only added up: The mo­tion of no confidence passed just be­cause num­bers of seats added up well though not up to two thirds of the House. That alone was not like the oc­cu­pa­tion of Golan Heights by the Is­raelis dur­ing their war with Syria.

The now pow­er­ful op­po­si­tion could not de­ter­mine the way for­ward after the mo­tion was car­ried.

Their next at­tempts in­cluded the use of and fir­ing of un­so­phis­ti­cated scud mis­siles with a hope to shoot their way back to par­lia­ment and prob­a­bly as a gov­ern­ment.

Those scud mis­siles were ef­fec­tively shot out of the sky with a sin­gle pa­triot mis­sile: the con­sti­tu­tion.

v. The dilemma of Le­sotho pol­i­tics: Na­tional in­ter­est in Le­sotho is grad­u­ally be­ing down­graded by our politi­cians’ per­sonal in­ter­ests. The fate of the 2017/18 bud­get is a good ex­am­ple of this.

In a nor­mal democ­racy, there ought to be a com­pro­mise so­lu­tion to the un­planned col­li­sion of the no-confidence mo­tion, the bud­get ses­sion and the dis­so­lu­tion of par­lia­ment.

These af­fected both gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion. This is a baby of the Na­tional Assem­bly as a whole and not the gov­ern­ment’s alone.

Con­tin­ues on Page 14


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