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A wasted decade



THE most important instrument through which parliament can express its lack of support to a government is the vote-of-no-confidence. MPs are currently pushing a vote-of-no-confidence motion in the government that could stop Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro from accessing his right to a pension in December. This week we are going to explore how the All Basotho Convention (ABC) wasted Basotho’s time, what is the no-confidence motion in the government and what happens if the government loses? If the truth is to be told the period between 2007 and 2012 was a time that we saw considerable economic growth, employment and then the opportunity to raise the quality of life. Former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili did an incredible job in office. After 2012 the ABC was caught in its own battles and former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was removed, replaced by Majoro. Next year as we go for elections a decade would have been lost. The ABC simply wasted our time when it was in office. Lesotho’s average growth rate since 2013 has barely exceeded 1.2% per annum to end 2020. The unemployment rate increased from 24.58 percent for 2013 to 24.65 percent for 2021. Total Public Debt as a percentage of nominal GDP ballooned from a low point of 41.19 percent in 2013 to 50.26 percent towards the end of 2021. The economy is currently in its lowest growth trajectory. Per capita GDP declined from 1,167 USD per annum in 2013 to 861 USD per annum in 2020. In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington argued that “however political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” The ABC rose to power because it appeared as the political party that was willing to answer the popular demands of the day. However, George Washington was right. The danger in such political parties is the wrong and unprincipled leadership. The ABC is full of such cunning, ambitious and unethical leaders. Anything goes in that party. Anybody can take it to any direction. They have subverted the will of the people. Personal agenda, and not public interest, dictate the move for this no confidence motion in the government. The ABC internal conflict has been the driving force behind the change of government. This in my opinion is irresponsible and does very little to promote public interests. This action represents the placement of narrow party interests before the general public interest. The irony of this matter is that it was the ABC that rejected Monyane Moleleki, leader of Alliance of Democrats (AD) when they changed Thabane’s government but today the same ABC is convinced Moleleki should become the Prime Minister with 12 seats. There is nothing in this no-confidence motion. The numbers make it clear, it is becoming a joke. How can a leader whose political party only has 12 seats in parliament become a Prime Minister? What is a no confidence vote? It is a vote in which MPs from all parties decide whether they want the government to continue. It has the power to trigger a general election and could see a new prime minister appointed. It is very rare for a government to lose a no-confidence motion. In fact, Thabane avoided the no confidence motion twice. In 2014 he evaded a possible no confidence vote by calling an election. In 2020, he resigned giving Moeketsi Majoro’s pact to become government. Majoro was nominated by ABC parliamentary caucus committee. There’s only been one occasion since Lesotho gained her independence when the government lost a no-confidence vote. That was in 2017, when the Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress-led government fell and was replaced by Thabane’s ABC at the general election which followed. Last week when parliament opened from its winter break a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Majoro was filed by the MP for Mokhotlong constituency, Tefo Mapesela. Mapesela is the leader of Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP) and he joined the opposition when he was fired from cabinet by Majoro. Mapesela’s motion was seconded by the Alliance of Democrats (AD) MP Kose Makoa. This motion is the continuation of the ABC fights. Mapesela left the ABC when he was fired from Majoro’s cabinet. Ever since that unceremonious departure he vowed to make Majoro’s government unstable. This motion does not serve the interests of the people but it is seeking to revenge. Chalane Phori, the MP for Qoaling constituency, has been very vocal about this initiative to unseat Majoro. I suppose he is also still angry after he was removed from cabinet by Majoro. We have a club of fired ministers who want to waste our time with a motion of no confidence that is not in the interest of the masses of our people. This explanation should give us an understanding of the basic question: What motivates Mapesela and Phori? The typical answer to this important question is that Mapesela and Phori are after economic gains, not the public’s interests. If they succeed in unseating Majoro, they will immediately be rewarded with cabinet seats. Like all other initiatives initiated by the ABC this decade, they are wasting our precious time. Ramahooana Matlosa

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