Govt should last its full term: Tha­bane

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Writer

PRIME Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane (pic

tured) has em­pha­sised the need for co­op­er­a­tion and unity among leg­is­la­tors from the gov­ern­ing coali­tion to en­sure that the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion lasts its full five year term.

Dr Tha­bane said this at an event that was held over the week­end at a ho­tel in Maseru to com­mem­o­rate his 79th birth­day.

The premier also said he would work tire­lessly to in­crease the gov­ern­ing’s slim ma­jor­ity to a two thirds ma­jor­ity which would en­able it to im­ple­ment its de­vel­op­ment agenda with­out hin­drances from the op­po­si­tion.

His re­marks come against the back­ground of Le­sotho’s re­cent his­tory of chronic in­sta­bil­ity re­sult­ing in three na­tional elec­tions in the space of five yearsin 2012, 2015 and 2017.

Dr Tha­bane’s first coali­tion gov­ern­ment com­pris­ing of his All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) party, the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and the Le­sotho Congress of Democ­racy (LCD) only lasted for three years from 2012 to 2015.

He only re­turned to power in the af­ter­math of the 3 June 2017 elec­tions where his ABC com­bined its seats with those of the BNP, the Al­liance of Democrats (AD) and the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (LCD) to form a four party coali­tion.

The gov­ern­ing coali­tion how­ever, re­tains a slim ma­jor­ity with only 63 out of the 120 seats in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

And in his week­end speech, Dr Tha­bane said he would work hard to en­sure that the gov­ern­ing coali­tion at­tained a two thirds ma­jor­ity which would em­power it to fully im­ple­ment its de­vel­op­ment agenda.

He said his first gov­ern­ment also failed to garner a ma­jor­ity and it con­se­quently failed to fully im­ple­ment its de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes.

“We have been from time to time been de­nied the nec­es­sary num­bers we need in the Na­tional Assem­bly to carry out our pro­grammes and the last par­lia­ment was one such ex­am­ple,” Dr Tha­bane said.

“To have a two thirds ma­jor­ity would be fine be­cause there is so much that needs to be changed in this coun­try. I think we shall get it and we are go­ing to work to get it.

“I am go­ing to per­suade those that have not joined our party to do so, not for my sake but for the sake of the coun­try.”

Dr Tha­bane also said the op­po­si­tion had to vi­brant to keep those in gov­ern­ment fo­cused on en­sur­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“I am ap­peal­ing to the op­po­si­tion to be vig­or­ous in their op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment so that they keep us on our toes and we prove our worth. If we can­not prove our worth, then the na­tion will see who is bet­ter be­tween us and the op­po­si­tion and they will kick us out.

“So this time there is no fool­ing around. We have to stay in power by do­ing the right things. If some of you who are leg­is­la­tors do not feel like stay­ing in power, that is fine but re­mem­ber that I have al­ready earned my pen­sion and you have not. Stick around and earn a pen­sion.”

He said the four par­ties took a huge risk to come to­gether to form a gov­ern­ment and it would only be proper for them to re­main united and work hard to en­sure they lasted their full term in of­fice.

“I have to ad­mit that the ex­per­i­ment that we car­ried out by hav­ing a four­party gov­ern­ment was a risky one. How­ever, peo­ple who do not take risks do not suc­ceed. We have taken that risk and we will def­i­nitely see it through.”

To achieve a two thirds ma­jor­ity, par­lia­ment would have to be dis­solved and fresh elec­tions called.

The other op­tion would be for Dr Tha­bane to con­vince op­po­si­tion leg­is­la­tors to cross the floor and join his party.

Ef­forts to find out how Dr Tha­bane in­tends to achieve the two thirds were not suc­cess­ful as Dr Tha­bane did not re­spond to calls. The Press At­taché in the Prime Min­is­ter ’s Of­fice, Thabo Thakalekoala, was not reach­able on his mo­bile phone as well.

Dr Tha­bane also took the op­por­tu­nity to urge male par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to be re­spon­si­ble fa­thers who took care of their fam­i­lies. He also urged their spouses to be tol­er­ant, say­ing tol­er­ance at fam­ily level would even­tu­ally trans­late to tol­er­ance at com­mu­nity and na­tional level.

“The fam­ily is the foun­da­tion of a healthy na­tion. Let us all look af­ter our fam­i­lies. Let us raise our chil­dren in a harmonious en­vi­ron­ment where the par­ents are not al­ways fight­ing.

“Maybe the fa­ther is too drunk to be rea­son­able or the mother is too un­rea­son­able to tol­er­ate the drunk hus­band who she mar­ried. Such sit­u­a­tions re­quire tol­er­ance of one another. That tol­er­ance will tran­scend be­yond the im­me­di­ate fam­ily to the com­mu­ni­ties and to the whole na­tion,” Dr Tha­bane said.

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