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A reflex response for self-preservation



IN our lead story this week, we carry a story of how Prime Minister Sam Matekane is moving to ring-fence his government by tabling in parliament the National Assembly Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022.

We are not surprised that Matekane has singled out that Bill amongst a host of other Bills that were part of the National Reforms’ Omnibus Bill that could not be passed by parliament last year.
The National Assembly Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022, which among other things bars floor-crossing by MPs, is so pivotal to the survival of his own government that he now leads.
This is therefore a reflex response for self-preservation.

Matekane, whose Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party is going through political turbulence of its own, seems eager to cushion his government by swiftly banning floor-crossing.
With the benefit of hindsight, Matekane remains keenly aware how such floor-crossing could precipitate the collapse of his own government.
Such floor-crossing has been the undoing of many a government in the past.

If Matekane succeeds in rallying his MPs to pass the Bill, he would have bought for his government a new lease of life, ensuring political stability for Lesotho for the next five years or so.
As we have argued in the past, Lesotho needs a stable government to drive its developmental agenda.

That is not always possible when aggrieved MPs can quickly cobble new coalitions to topple the government.

The National Assembly Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022 will seek to place limitations on floor-crossing to ensure political stability in Lesotho.
We think this is a very desirable piece of legislation.

Of course, Matekane’s government is being driven by political self-preservation. That is understandable.
It would be better were the government to bring the entire Bill back to parliament for processing.

There are other areas covered by the Omnibus Bill that are also pretty urgent. Take for instance the current legal battles to get rid of Principal Secretaries.
That could be easily resolved when Lesotho passes the Bill to cover the appointment of civil servants such as PS’ and security agency chiefs.

It is therefore extremely urgent for the Matekane-led government to broaden the scope of legislative review to ensure stability for Lesotho.
We have also noted the expressions of dissatisfaction by the opposition that feels that Matekane’s government is cherry-picking Bills to push its own interests. That is understandable.

With the turbulence in the RFP, the opposition is probably itching to see the divisions in the party worsening so that they could pounce and vote out Matekane when parliament reconvenes.
If that were to happen, the RFP would have euthanized itself and it would have itself to blame.

We can sense the sheer exasperation of the RFP’s deputy leader, Justice Nthomeng Majara, when she spoke passionately about the current infighting in the party.
It is clear that the RFP is going through turbulence and we can understand why Matekane is moving swiftly to protect his turf.
Lesotho needs a stable government if it is to make real gains in reversing rampant poverty.

Lesotho needs a stable government to drive a new economic agenda.
It would be a huge setback if MPs are allowed to sabotage this new initiative by seeking to topple the government through elitist pacts in parliament.

For all his mistakes and presumed weaknesses, Matekane seems genuinely sincere.

He must be given a chance to make his mark for the next five years.

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