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MAHAO OPPOSED TO EARLY ELECTION

By Staff Writers

Opposition parties, Democratic Congress (DC) in particular, will not sleep on their attempts to oust Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his government as well.

Last week the opposition parties – including the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) faction opposed to Thabane – resolved that Thabane must be removed through a motion of no confidence.

The motion of no confidence in Thabane was filed by ABC Member of Parliament for Koro-Koro constituency Motebang Koma and seconded by MP for Qalabane, Motlalentoa Letsosa, who is also deputy leader of the main opposition DC.

Parliament was adjourned sine die on Monday before the motion could be tabled in the house. Some observers believe the national assembly was closed indefinitely to stave off a vote of no confidence against Thabane.

According to the Constitution, if the National Assembly passes a resolution of no confidence in the government and the prime minister does not within three days thereafter either resign or advise a dissolution, the King may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, dissolve Parliament and call elections.

DC has called for an early election instead of waiting for the 2022 national election.

But Professor Mahao today said he will oppose attempts to push for early elections.
During the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) friends meeting and forum debate on Friday, Mahao indicated that according to the constitution, boundaries of Lesotho’s 80 constituencies should be reviewed every ten years.

“That has not happened and if the King can accept the Prime Minister’s advice to dissolve parliament and call for elections, I will take the King to court for calling elections when there has not been a review of constituencies as required by the constitution,” he said.

Section 67(3) of the Constitution states that: “Commission shall review the boundaries of the constituencies into which Lesotho is divided, not less than eight nor more than ten years from the date of completing its last review.”

The last review was done in 2010. This review was supposed to have been done in 2008 but was put on hold due to delays in releasing the 2006 census results.

The review resulted in changes in 63 out of the 80 constituency boundaries.

It resulted in the dissolution of the Matelile constituency in Mafeteng district and the creation of Thetsane constituency in Maseru.

Mabote constituency was moved from Maseru district to Berea district. The final review report which was presented to stakeholders in August 2010 said this was done because Mabote had been wrongly included among the Maseru constituencies.

The urban part of Berea constituency was cut off to start a new constituency called Khubetsoana which the report said has 15 742 voters.

Other constituencies were renamed while boundaries of others were shifted dramatically.

It is obvious now that Thabane’s leadership is under intense pressure from a group of recalcitrant MPs of his own party and opposition leaders, DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu in particular, who seek to bring about a general election by tabling a vote of no confidence as soon as possible.

Mokhothu’s stance is that the rot afflicting Thabane’s government can only be treated through an election that will produce a clear winner.
But Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing, a former deputy prime minister, is cautious and argues that until the playing field has been levelled by reforms through constitutional and parliamentary reforms, elections would produce a faulty outcome.

Metsing has been calling for government of national unity since June 2017, and still insists for a government of national unity (GNU) to lead the country throughout the multi-sector reforms process.

But Mokhothu last Saturday took an indirect swipe at Metsing, suggesting that whoever supports the idea of GNU “supports Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s cruelty” and his wife ‘Maesiah’s “interference with the running of government”.

Metsing told TRC’s meeting today that without meaningful political reform, elections cannot solve the deep crisis that has paralysed the country since 2014.

Maybe he is right.
Look at what has happened in Guinea-Bissau for example.
Just two months after the March 10 legislative election, Guinea-Bissau is once again stuck in a political stalemate.

The conflict is driven by the same partisan interests that precipitated similar events four years ago. For many outside the country, these elections were meant to solve the crippling 2015 crisis.
However, holding elections in a tense context and without political reforms having been implemented, made deadlock inevitable.

The political quarrels between the two parliamentary groups formed after the election hinder the full establishment of the office of the National People’s Assembly (NPA), the appointment of the prime minister and the formation of a new government.

The standoff further weakens the country’s already dire socio-economic situation, which could jeopardise presidential elections planned for between October 23 and November 25.
The end of President José Mário Vaz’s five-year term in office, scheduled for June 23, combined with the absence of a new government, creates an institutional vacuum that will make resolving this new impasse that much harder.

The root cause of the stalemate is the rejection of Braima Camará as the second vice-president of the NPA. Camará, who is a coordinator of the Movement for Democratic Alternation-G15 (MADEM-G15), was snubbed by the new parliamentary majority led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Tensions escalated further when MADEM-G15 refused to choose another candidate, insisting on Camará. NW

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