It makes no sense to dissolve parliament

It makes no sense to dissolve parliament

The decision by the PM to advise His Majesty to dissolve parliament does not make sense to me.  Below are the reasons why I think the PM should rather have resigned and transferred power in parliament instead of getting Parliament dissolved.  The reasons are not given in any order of priority. I just wrote them down as they occurred to me.

l Not resigning but instead advising that parliament be dissolved, the PM was disenfranchising voters. This is because voters through their representatives called for his resignation and not for him to dissolve parliament.

If it is true that representatives in parliament speak for and represent the rest of us, then in dissolving parliament, the PM acted contrary to the will of the people and this is undemocratic.

l Three elections in five years is likely to induce voter fatigue and therefore lower voter turnout at the next elections. This is not good for democracy because active participation in electoral systems by citizens is essential if governments are to have legitimacy and a clear mandate. Because for most of us there is no discernible or direct correlation between casting a vote and a corresponding improvement in service delivery and improved living conditions, there is no real incentive to vote.

So, too many elections when there are no obvious improvements in living conditions is not a good thing.  l Parliamentarians are unlikely to ever again pass a vote of no confidence against an incompetent Prime Minister and his Government.

If the act of exercising a constitutional right to recall a Prime Minister seen not to be steering the country well risks parliament being dissolved (MPs losing their jobs), MPs will be less inclined to use this option in future – because they would not want to vote themselves out of a job.

A situation where a PM is able to dissolve parliament when a vote of confidence has been passed against him is not good for democracy. It limits the effectiveness of parliament to hold the executive accountable freely and unencumbered. A bad precedence has therefore been set.
l The state of readiness of the IEC especially given the short notice to run the snap election is probably not at the level it should be. This is likely to impact the quality of the election and therefore the credibility and fairness thereof.

This elevates the risk of having disputed election results which will only foment more uncertainty and instability in an environment that is already highly polarised.
l An election is going to delay addressing the urgent and pressing issues we face. One obvious example is the need to take immediate steps – within the stipulated timeframe to avert losing AGOA.

Failure to do this, risks 40000 people losing their jobs. There are many other similarly urgent matters such as the need to pass a budget so that government can continue to function. Because of these elections however, the business of running government will be diverted away from such critical issues and directed to election campaigns. Politicians should be fixing these problems and not fixing each other.

l Had the PM resigned, a more broad-based government would have taken over the running of the country (a higher share of the overall votes in parliament).
Being more inclusive, it is more likely to have been able to inject much needed impetus to the current pedestrian pace of the reforms process.
Because parliament has been dissolved, the much needed reforms will once again be relegated to the back banner as stubborn politicians square off.
l A different government would have been good for the country because they would come up with fresh ideas and policies to deal decisively with the current challenges the country is facing i.e. joblessness, poor service delivery, endemic corruption and political instability and uncertainty.

An additional spinoff was the arrangement to have a Prime Minister for 18 months and a different one for the remaining 18 months.
This would have resulted in a government that is action and results oriented as there would be no time for anything else. Both PM’s would want to prove themselves the more competent.

And besides, this would have made such a welcome break from the long term incumbency we have become accustomed to and which is one of the causes we are where we are today.
l A third election in five years is likely to result in the loss of goodwill from international donors.

They are under pressure from their citizens to justify continued disbursement of financial aid to overseas countries when they have their own challenges at home.
How do they for example justify the reason why a country (2 million people) reliant on donations even to meet basic expenditure requirements can spend close to a billion on elections (M300 million per election) in less than 5 years?

I do not think they will take kindly to their monies being used to satisfy the interest of power hungry politicians at the expense of fighting and eradicating poverty.
Meagre public resources which include donor funding must not be wasted but used judiciously.
l Another reason I find dissolving parliament unnecessary is because the composition of the next parliament as far as the major political figures in Lesotho are concerned, is unlikely to change.

Exactly the same belligerents will be back in parliament. But because very little progress has been made with reforms, the same old unresolved issues causing them to fight today will still be there.

An election after the reforms would have helped to eliminate these sticking issues so that come 2020, parties go into the elections governed by a different set of rules.
Perhaps from a different vantage point, it makes sense to dissolve parliament. But from here where I sit, it makes no sense.

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