tion notwithstanding such prorogation… [Fifth/2000 edition]”. Parliament of Lesotho is actually held hostage through reliance on traditions, practice etc set by other democracies which may have alternative ways and means, out of parliament, to address recommendations which get quashed in the situation of Lesotho. Goodness of SOs shows in their ability to redefine the image of a parliament.
Due you doubt a situation in a really corrupt regime where a parliament may be prorogued for two days an undisclosed motive to cover up to kill pursuit of a corruption matter pending before parliamentary committees. Good SOs can ensure that this valuable tool of prorogation remains useful and relevant e.g. to enable re-introduction of a bill that was negatived during the same session. Unfortunately, parliament of Lesotho has a single 5-yr session, where prorogation remains a very valuable tool with which to clean a slate for fresh start.
Enactment of a Whistle Blowers law could be another telescope through which to watch for corruption. Post-Tender Briefings could be another addition to test the results of any completed public tenders: has there been fairness, transparency, competitiveness, value for money considerations etc? This could be done before the awarding of contracts. Currently, tendency is for complaints to arise afterwards and only draw some attention to the just ended tendering.
Another matter of interest is whether a single PAC remains adequate to cope with the ever expanding bureaucracy, budget and service deliver dictates of Lesotho? Why do Portfolio Committees have to be many and have ministries they oversee clustered? This approach of many/different committees undertaking the same role is an old idea in many parliaments and is only a post-2004 reform effort in Lesotho. Ideally, PACs could be three: one focused on all ministries, the other two respective- ly deal with Local Authorities and State Enterprises. This too remains a matter of good SOs.
Apparently, Lesotho did not join the 1999 founded African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC). Why can Lesotho not join now, as a national Chapter? Exposure of MPs to how colleagues elsewhere in Africa soldier on against corruption would be an investment in our MPs, notwithstanding the dilemma of their high turnover as parliaments replace each other.
While the 10th Parliament is wished well, behind such wishes lurks a very dark cloud of doubts. The never ending political instability does not allow enough time to think positively and constructively about aspects of good governance. Politicians are more preoccupied with thinking about popularity contests.
Snap elections are a good indicator of this; even when a change of government in the House is possible constitutionally. No; we must seek a fresh mandate from the electorate. During sittings of parliament, energies are funneled to consolidate power to stay on or to topple a sitting government.
Targets actually stand side by side:
Will the 10th Parly last the five-year term? The amount of output as and when it actually ends will remain the focus. The Legislature and the Executive will be the focus. Enactments which will pass will depend on how the executive makes use of its power of initiative to table bills. That the Speech from the Throne made no specific mention of bills to be seen through leaves a lot to be desired.
Publication of a legislative program of any parliament ranks higher than any other commitments. Similarly, the establishment of a fully functional ministry of Parliamentary affairs would be another innovation to add that missing link whose mandate would be to ensure full accountability of the executive to parliament. Could disregard of such an agency, over such a long time since the naming of that portfolio, be deliberate: probably to evade/escape the required accountability and sustain a strong executive vis-à-vis a Legislature?
This wish for the best actually anticipates high productivity, at least in the contest of the Speech from the Throne. Business as usual will render it to be a wasted ammunition. And that would be sad.