Seek fresh mandate
KING Letsie III this week accepted Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s advice to dissolve Parliament a decision that effectively paves the way for fresh elections within the next 90 days.
The decision comes after a week of horse-trading, high drama and tension in Lesotho. Both the government and the opposition have been fiercely lobbying the King to make a decision that would favour their position. That is part of the game.
The week’s events, however, only served to vividly illustrate how badly fractured our society is. The vicious debates and counter arguments have left Lesotho much more divided than ever before. The decision by the King, which we broke in our lead story last week, was no doubt a tough one for His Majesty.
That is because the stakes were high.
That it took His Majesty so long to come to a decision is a clear indication that he fully applied his mind and consulted widely on the matter.
We are therefore inclined to trust his judgement on this one.
What is clear, however, is that this was no easy decision given the emotive nature of the debates and the toxic politics surrounding the vote-of-no-confidence in Parliament last week.
By dissolving Parliament and effectively paving way for fresh elections, King Letsie III has thrown the gauntlet back to the people of Lesotho.
Politicians must seek a fresh mandate from the people and whoever wins the forthcoming elections will have an indisputable right to govern. That is how the issue of legitimacy will be resolved.
Having made this tough call, we feel it is incumbent upon every Mosotho to rally behind the King who has proven to be the voice of reason and a unifying factor among Basotho.
Of course, the opposition might feel hard done by the decision to call an election.
The election call has effectively torpedoed a deal that would have seen Monyane Moleleki being anointed Lesotho’s next Prime Minister with Thomas Thabane succeeding him after 18 months.
The opposition must take the decision on the chin and go back to the drawing board. They must begin to campaign in earnest.
While this was obviously a tough call for His Majesty, we believe he made the right call in line with Lesotho’s constitution.
The decision will portray Lesotho as a country that wants to abide by the rule of law.
The constitutional provisions on the no-confidence motion appeared to give Mosisili an upper hand as he had a clear mandate to advise the King to dissolve Parliament with the Council of State only playing an advisory role.
We understand why the opposition might feel aggrieved by such a clause. Yet, if there is any lesson to be picked from last week’s events it is that our constitution must be unambiguous on that section of the law.
That the whole country was debating what needed to be done is a clear indication that the wording in the constitution was not emphatic enough.
It is that ambiguity that set the country on a political cliff.
Now that the election season is with us again, the third in five years, we expect that this coming election will be issues-driven.
For too long, our politics and campaigns have been driven by personalities. The ‘big men’ syndrome has drained our politics of real substance. That needs to be fixed.
The politics of insults and name-calling must also be pruned. We find the congress/nationalists tag hopelessly outdated as the names are devoid of any real meaning in the 21st century.
Political parties must articulate well thought out policies that advance the developmental agenda. Anything short of this would be a disservice to Basotho.
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