THE Khoelenya community has blamed Members of Parliament (MP) for the country’s current political and security woes, which have all-but left Lesotho without a government.
Dozens of villagers who came for a meeting organised by rights group, Development for Peace Education (DPE) on Friday last week, accused the country’s 120 MPs of failing to consult the electorate before making decisions with a bearing on the country’s future.
The public gathering sought to discuss the New Zealand report compiled after a delegation of politicians, senior civil servants, civil society representatives and the clergy, had visited the island nation between 28 June – 4 July 2014 to study its governance system under the Mixed Member Proportional Representation parliamentary model, which Lesotho adopted in 2002.
It was during the meeting that the villagers took turns to blast the MPs for their “selfish” decisions to, among others, move a vote-of-no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his government in March this year, “without receiving such mandate from the public or at least explaining to us why they no longer trusted Thabane”.
Basotho-Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) leader, Jeremane Ramathebane, was the initiator of the motion, which was immediately supported by the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) and other Congress parties.
After the abortive motion, Dr Thabane suspended Parliament for nine months on 10 June to forestall any further attempts to remove him — a decision which triggered a series of unsavory events and the eventual intervention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Among the ugly results of Parliament’s prorogation was the virtual collapse of the coalition government formed in June 2012 by Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Thesele ‘Maseribane, respectively.
SADC has since recommended the holding of an early general election before the original date of 2017, and also urged Dr Thabane to reconvene Parliament.
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is currently facilitating the reopening of the August House — which was supposed to reconvene on 19 September as per SADC recommendations but failed after Dr Thabane cited security concerns — and the holding of the elections, but Khoelenya residents are not impressed with how the country has reached its current state of instability.
The Khoelenya Youth Representative, Mpho Popele said: “It is unfair on us the electorate that after we voted these people into Parliament with hope that they will represent our views and receive directives from us, they choose to do as they please and what suits their own personal agendas.
“When they decided on the no-confidence motion, the MPs did not even bother to receive such a mandate from the public or at least explain to us why they were doing it. Now, after things have backfired, they come back to us for support that the Parliament should be reopened. We are not even sure anymore whether, if the Parliament reopens, they will now present our views, as the public who voted them into power.”
Khoelenya falls under the Mekaling constituency, which was won by Kamoho Moroeng of the DC.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Moroeng, his secretary, Mpumelelo Mbhagaza said the current political stalemate was mainly due to the presence of 40 Proportional Representation (PR) parliamentary seats.
“It is unfair that some parties worked so hard to win many constituencies and others, which could not even secure a single constituency, and are being represented in Parliament through this proportional arrangement, now form part of the coalition government. The DC has many seats in Parliament (48) but is not part of the government. That is exactly why we are in this mess.”
Meanwhile, other villagers who spoke to the Sunday Express at the event said they did not support “a government of many political parties”.
One such villager was ’Malebohang Maphasa, who told the Sunday Express: “It is apparent that this government of many parties is failing the nation. I prefer that this country is ruled by one party, the way it was in the past. That way, there will be no partners complaining that the Prime Minister has made unilateral decisions to prorogue parliament or firing senior government officials.”
The area chief, Molomo Solomon Molomo, on his part, said the current political instability had negatively affected the community.
“The situation has negatively affected this community. We are deeply divided over certain issues because of what is happening in the country at the moment. If things do not go back to normal soon, I am afraid people might end up killing each other for politics. Some villagers now even fear raising their own opinions because of this. We pray that the situation normalises as a matter of urgency,” Chief Molomo said.