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Govt should last its full term: Thabane

Staff Writer

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has emphasised the need for cooperation and unity among legislators from the governing coalition to ensure that the current administration lasts its full five year term.

Dr Thabane said this at an event that was held over the weekend at a hotel in Maseru to commemorate his 79th birthday.

The premier also said he would work tirelessly to increase the governing’s slim majority to a two thirds majority which would enable it to implement its development agenda without hindrances from the opposition.

His remarks come against the background of Lesotho’s recent history of chronic instability resulting in three national elections in the space of five years- in 2012, 2015 and 2017.

Dr Thabane’s first coalition government comprising of his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, the Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) only lasted for three years from 2012 to 2015.

He only returned to power in the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 elections where his ABC combined its seats with those of the BNP, the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (LCD) to form a four party coalition.

The governing coalition however, retains a slim majority with only 63 out of the 120 seats in the National Assembly.

And in his weekend speech, Dr Thabane said he would work hard to ensure that the governing coalition attained a two thirds majority which would empower it to fully implement its development agenda.

He said his first government also failed to garner a majority and it consequently failed to fully implement its development programmes.

“We have been from time to time been denied the necessary numbers we need in the National Assembly to carry out our programmes and the last parliament was one such example,” Dr Thabane said.

“To have a two thirds majority would be fine because there is so much that needs to be changed in this country. I think we shall get it and we are going to work to get it.

“I am going to persuade those that have not joined our party to do so, not for my sake but for the sake of the country.”

Dr Thabane also said the opposition had to vibrant to keep those in government focused on ensuring service delivery.

“I am appealing to the opposition to be vigorous in their opposition in parliament so that they keep us on our toes and we prove our worth. If we cannot prove our worth, then the nation will see who is better between us and the opposition and they will kick us out.

“So this time there is no fooling around. We have to stay in power by doing the right things.  If some of you who are legislators do not feel like staying in power, that is fine but remember that I have already earned my pension and you have not. Stick around and earn a pension.”

He said the four parties took a huge risk to come together to form a government and it would only be proper for them to remain united and work hard to ensure they lasted their full term in office.

“I have to admit that the experiment that we carried out by having a four-party government was a risky one. However, people who do not take risks do not succeed. We have taken that risk and we will definitely see it through.”

To achieve a two thirds majority, parliament would have to be dissolved and fresh elections called.

The other option would be for Dr Thabane to convince opposition legislators to cross the floor and join his party.

Efforts to find out how Dr Thabane intends to achieve the two thirds were not successful as Dr Thabane did not respond to calls. The Press Attaché in the Prime Minister’s Office, Thabo Thakalekoala, was not reachable on his mobile phone as well.

Dr Thabane also took the opportunity to urge male parliamentarians to be responsible fathers who took care of their families. He also urged their spouses to be tolerant, saying tolerance at family level would eventually translate to tolerance at community and national level.

“The family is the foundation of a healthy nation. Let us all look after our families. Let us raise our children in a harmonious environment where the parents are not always fighting.

“Maybe the father is too drunk to be reasonable or the mother is too unreasonable to tolerate the drunk husband who she married. Such situations require tolerance of one another. That tolerance will transcend beyond the immediate family to the communities and to the whole nation,” Dr Thabane said.



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