Lesotho’s 27-year democracy limps along
This beefed up the outlook and wish of “the next government in waiting”. The 9th Parliament had to eventually adjourn after attempts to have government change in the House.
iii. The issue of hung government and defections to form new parties or join the other existing parties has necessitated the formation of a never tried election pact. How the result of this tactical move will impact and contribute to our rapidly evolving parliamentary democracy remains to be seen.
iv. The MMP model once again ushered 10 political parties into the 9th Parliament. A record number of almost 30 parties is set to contest in the 3 June snap election.
Will this result in the increase or reduction of parliamentary parties in the 10th Parliament? What impact will any eventuality have in regard to the stability or instability in the NA?
v. Obviously, coalition governments are here to stay. They however seem to be prone to being short lived .Could it, frankly, be said this is a misfit for Lesotho whose economy is highly dependent on many variables which render it weak? Does this MMP model not deserve a one-off referendum for the nation to determine whether or not this model which necessitates misdirection of scarce resources to fund frequent sharp elections should be discarded?
A variant of a GNU: As a matter of fact, Lesotho of our time requires resourceful minds and positive thinking. Creativity could be more rewarding than maintenance of a dysfunctional status quo. Some innovations may appear as better options while they have their own downsides.
The never ending political problems of Lesotho have to be addressed to overcome them. Lesotho has talked much about the need to overcome them, but treat everything as business as usual. How much of the Lesotho vision 2020 been implemented? i. GNU could be another answer. It has never been refuted or dismissed as hot air that in Lesotho, politicians have considerable greed for State power.
However, the recent resignation of many Ministers from the ruling majority has sent out different shock waves. That could be an isolated incident which does not disprove the above allegation.
Critics would view GNU as just a ploy to guarantee all those powers that will be in the 10th Parliament reserved seats on the governance gravy train.
GNU like Coalition government has not been regulated. Will it be the leaders, their confidants or MPS who secured the highest number of votes etc who access GNU seats?
GNU is likely to deprive the NA the opportunity to have an effective opposition. Party caucuses may be compelled to have teams of devil`s advocates. Backbenchers would have to be adequately trained on the use of their conscience, as another valuable parliamentary tool if properly used.
Development of the second chamber/senate into an empowered democratic House could also give GNU the required oversight responsibility.
Otherwise, Parliament would be doomed to be subservient to the GNU, with all N.A. backbenchers reduced to be quorum members whose significance is to give unanimous applause by rapping on desks. There would be little difference between the GNU parliament that of a single party parliament.
ii. Parties get elected on the basis of their manifestos or promises to the electorate. Agreement of coalition parties supersedes all those. What more if the whole ten parliamentary parties form the GNU? Negotiations for an Agreement are likely to be long and difficult. Not all are likely to have their politi- cal agenda included as they would wish in the GNU Agreement.
There is also a risk of being compelled to endorse an Agreement which another party may not endorse under normal circumstances.
Such things are likely to be a source of interpersonal frustration and tensions, which at times lead to break up of coalitions. GNU is a coalition of every party in parliament and has no guarantee against break down of government.
Currently, all hands are on board: 3 June election is around the corner. Lesotho is poised to limp along. Of its 50 years of Independence, 23 had an undemocratic one party rule.
The rich legacy which the founder of this nation left has to be reciprocated through a more mature democracy.
Prayers have to be said for the 10th Parliament to take our democracy to higher levels. It is better parliaments which contribute to stronger democracies.