Politicians are cut from the same cloth

Politicians are cut from the same cloth

There are very few differences in how Lesotho’s politicians conduct themselves and how they conduct their business. In fact our politicians are so similar that I can boldly say “Bapolotiki ba Lesotho ke kobo tsa Maseru, ‘mala o mong,” (which when loosely translated means that our politicians are cut from the same cloth.)
My reason for painting Lesotho politicians that way stems from the events of the past weekend. So many things happened in a span of just a few days. My head is still spinning that even now I cannot really understand the current status of our governance.

In the past weekend we have seen Parliament being prorogued, we have also heard about the “election” or “appointment” of Thabane’s successor in the office of Prime Minister.
Let me first decipher the issue of prorogation. The first time most of us heard about the word prorogation was during the tenure of the first coalition government that was then led by Thabane. At that time Thabane was accused by one of his partners (the Lesotho Congress for Democracy) of unilaterally proroguing parliament.
At that time, the other partner which was the Basotho National Party (BNP) saw nothing wrong with Thabane’s decision. In fact they practically ululated at the decision made by Thabane because as the Prime Minister he had a right to make decisions without consulting his partners.

The past week saw Thabane getting back to his old tricks as he published a gazette proroguing the 10th parliament. Alas the BNP is now crying foul and has even taken a decision to take Thabane to court over his decision.
I remain alarmed that the same BNP that was commending Thabane yesterday is today seeing fault in his conduct. What is the difference between what is happening now and what took place in 2015? I being startled by the reaction of the BNP does not mean I support the prorogation. I am just puzzled that one day politicians support an issue and the next day they wake up fighting against the very same decision.

I am also baffled that the same MPs, who were in government and in opposition when Thabane first prorogued parliament, did not bother to amend the section of the law on prorogation. Instead they continued as if it was business as usual.
Almost five years have elapsed since the first prorogation but nothing was ever done by both the ruling and opposition MPs to ensure that they clip the wings of the Prime Minister in that regard.

It is a shame that the MPs are today complaining while they had the power to change the status quo.
Another interesting event that took place this past week was the decision made at the special conference of the Democratic Party. The special leadership conference resolved that the DC can jump onto the bandwagon of the envisaged new coalition party that is being mulled between ABC, BNP and the DC.
The DC will join the new coalition provided Thabane is not part of the government. As I heard of the resolution on social media I did not want to believe that it was real. My solemn reason being that Mosisili has inculcated in the minds of his charges for the past years that oil and water can never mix. He has always been adamant, to the delight of his followers, that Manasi (as the BNP are dismissively called) and Macongress (Parties of congress origin) can never be in government together because they like oil and water do not go well together. He had even nicknamed the ABC as Manasi a masehlanyana (the yellow Nationalists).

Today, the DC will be doing the unthinkable as it goes into a coalition with Manasi. I already know that their answer will be that in politics there is no longtime foe or friend. For me it says our politicians are only interested in getting into power. They do not care about ethics and ideology.
That is why their allegiances never last long. They are birds of an identical plumage who always fly together. The role of Lesotho politicians is never and has never been about the development of the poorest of the poor, it has always been about how they enrich themselves and their friends.

That is why politicians will be fighting a cause today and be supporting the same cause the following day. The same DC that joined the Wool and Mohair farmers in their quest to fight against the regulations they considered to be cruel towards them and their trade is today joining the same government it was at war against.
Lastly, there was an “election” of the incoming Prime Minister on Sunday at Parliament. My incessant search on how a Prime Minister “retires” yielded no fruits at all. I was also unable to find from the Constitution a clause that guides such a retirement. I guess it’s a long wait for us to find what will actually transpire at the end of this seemingly tedious process of retiring a Prime Minister.

Kelello Rakolobe

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