Lesotho opposition worried about political environment

Thomas Thabane
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Lesotho’s perturbing political environment is worrying the opposition parties. These parties say the infighting within the ruling party is rendering the state useless to a point of near collapse. The situation is made worse by continued closure of parliament even though there are no valid reasons to justify the closure.

Several key essential services had raised concern due to crippling financial shortfalls.

Opposition parties say the collapse in the rule of law under the current Lesotho administration has led to more that forty people dying at the hands of the law enforcement officers. Essential Services coffers have completely dried up and this is threatening the on-going SADC Reforms Process.

Mathibeli Mokhothu, opposition leader, says that they need to strengthen issues of governance in the country. He also says that the continued abuse of state security sector is a practice that may lead to further deterioration peace and stability in the kingdom.

“And one day there will be bloodshed as a result of that. One day when there is a change of government, they just resist and defy the democratic will, fearing the possibility of facing consequences of justice holding them to account for the things they did. The practice of military agents always having to go to prison for things they did in defence of the regime should come to a gentle stop.”

It is however, the closing of parliament senate that worries the members of opposition; they say the parliament is the only place where they can hold the government accountable. Lekhetho Rakuoane of the MFP says that they are worried about the political impact of closing parliament.

“Technically, the parliament was procedurally closed in terms of senate. What we are worried about is the political impact of closing the parliament senate, when normally the closing of Easter break after passing the budget, which normally has a date…Like the senate, it’s very clear, it put a date for its opening and it did open, it carried out its work. We think it’s an abuse of that senate clause, but is not illegal.”

However, Lesotho Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, earlier dismissed the opposition’s claim as a cheap political stunt, saying the internal factions within the ruling party are not of any threat to the current Reforms Process.

“That’s absolute nonsense, that’s absolute rubbish. The government is stable; this government is now dealing with reform programme with our international colleagues, the SADC and everybody else. Our attention now and the attention of the people of Lesotho should be how we reform our political stability in Lesotho, so that going forward, we use this opportunity to correct house mistakes that were made in the past, are probably continuing to be made, and to have a new order in Lesotho where everything is in its proper place.”

The communication in the possession of the SABC shows that the parliament will open Friday, 24 May, but will shortly be due for winter break; a move that opposition says is designed to strategically ensure that Thabane does not risk facing internal revolt and possibly a vote of no confidence against him in parliament.