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PR seats talks doomed

IT’S 31 months since the battle over the allocation of proportional representation seats erupted but the warring parties have not been able to agree on how the dispute should be resolved.

Sir Ketumile Masire, an emissary of the regional Sadc bloc, tried but failed to break the impasse between the opposition and the government.

At the time of going to print a second attempt by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) seemed headed for doom.

The opposition is accusing the CCL of presenting the final report on the issue at the Sadc summit in Namibia last month without consulting them.

We have no doubt the CCL initiative will also fail to resolve the dispute.

Yet in all this chaos we are inclined to ask the opposition whether this battle is still worth fighting.

The next elections are due in just under two years from now.

The life of the current parliament is already more than halfway through and soon the country will be in an election mode.

We understand that the opposition’s fight is based on principle.

But have they not gained higher moral ground already by getting the government to amend the electoral laws whose loopholes were manipulated to give rise to this current dispute in the first place?

We believe by getting the government to amend the law that governs the proportional representation seats the opposition has scored a major political victory.

Instead of continuing to raise hell about these compensatory seats the opposition must now focus their energy on making sure that the amendments are foolproof.

This is the new battle they must now fight in parliament.

Now is their chance to make sure that the system is never manipulated again like they say happened in 2007. 

Also by making their contribution to the amendments the opposition is able to test the government’s sincerity in dealing with the problem that the allocation of proportional representation seats has created.

There is a real danger that by continuing to push for the redistribution of the seats the opposition is pursuing what might turn out to be a pyrrhic victory that distracts them from the fundamental issue at stake.

We understand that the opposition might want to make the maximum political capital possible by getting the government to admit that the allocation of seats was wrong and the alliances benefited wrongly.

That is fair and fine.

But the opposition must realise that in doing so they are pursuing a “victory” they already have.

The fact that government is amending the law is a tacit admission that mistakes were made.

The government might not have officially admitted those blunders but why should that be of crucial importance when it is already trying to avoid the problem in future?

The opposition must not come across as too keen to get its people in parliament for the sake of it.

A little comprise on their part could go a long way towards maintaining the stability in this country.

They must accept that they won’t get the outright victory they want on this issue.

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