Ninth parly doomed from the start
Under normal circumstances in a healthy democracy, government and the opposition ought to agree, in the public interest, on a shortened Appropriate Bill. That requires the agreement or support of the opposition.
The bill would be short in that it would contain only selected/agreed budgetary items e.g. allocation to fund the 3 June election and other don’t omit items, leaving everything else for the next parliament.
This happens elsewhere. Early ending of parliament is not unique to Lesotho. Parliaments have to respond positively to such developments. The short Bill would require only a few days to assent to, and parliament would even adjourn on the very day of assent.
It is doubtful if the Ninth Parliament, by its nature and attitude particularly, would have conceded to such an arrangement. The opposition wanted nothing less than a change of government.
Luckily or unfortunately, depending on which side one is, the constitution as a guide, anticipated disunity and provided for flexibility and alternative routes in the management of serious national affairs.
Standing Orders which were elegantly explained in court are a tool of procedure for the House and have to be constitutional.
Unfortunately, it is the opposition which rigorously stood in the way of their implementation to the later, by not allowing the presentation and tabling of the budget.
Instead, it went to court but withheld the fact it had an input in the failure to present the budget.
vi. What does the 10th parly hold? Bad habits die hard. One wonders what parliamentary mix the 3 June election will usher in.
Recently, one interviewee over a local radio station repeated what was said over and over before by the opposition, that the current constitution needs to be amended.
They were actually saying without them, there would be no meaningful review of the constitution in areas where two thirds majority was mandatory.
Will they sing that song again? The other side of the story was that a new constitution was the answer to many problems Lesotho frequently faces. Can we predict that if they come back as a government they will only fa-
cilitate amendments to the 1993 version or if they occupy the opposition they will press for its amendments by opposing a complete rewrite of the document?
There is the question of a hung parliament. The third coalition government would better remember that its survival depends on its ability to stand together.
The first coalition collapsed just because it disregarded this and justified its disruptive actions as constitutional. The second coalition was undermined by dissent and rebellion by its members: allegedly as a response to incidents, personal interests or better offers or opportunities from somewhere. Causes of coalitions to fall apart are many.
Be that as it may, one wishes for efforts to be made to ensure that history does not repeat itself during the 10th Parliament. It has previously been repeated in this paper, that coalitions stand a risk of a bull dog and puppy relations where a puppy may end up holding the bull dog hostage when the latter shows the way.