Stop this bickering!

THE bid to push for a no-confidence motion in parliament this week has generated spirited interest and debate on both sides of the political divide.

The entire week saw radio stations and the media in general debating the pros and cons of the intention to move the motion, which would initiate a process that could see a change in government.

At the time of going to print, events driven by the saga had moved so fast thateven the media could hardly keep pace with the several motifs emanating from this grand narrative dubbed the motion of no-confidence.

One thing stands out though from the entire saga, the so-called Parliamentary Working Alliance of Political Parties and Individual Members, who are the architects of the motion, should have approached a motion like a no-confidence vote in an incumbent government with befitting seriousness.

In the end, the Speaker of Parliament and his deputy tore into the initiative and exposed the new alliance as lacking the proper grasp of procedure needed when a motion of such magnitude is planned.

Besides, we believe a motion of no-confidence should be premised on tangible, irrefutable concerns which any one among its advocates should be able to articulate at any time without stammering.

In this case, one cannot help but conclude that the attempt to pass a no-confidence motion was ill-conceived and not properly thought-out which is why it collapsed like a deck of cards this week.

Leaving aside the politics of it all for a moment, let’s look at the legal implications of two contending sides rushing to oppose and counter oppose each other.

Resort to the courts should ordinarily be the hallmark of any society which sanctifies the rule of law. Sadly, in the case of Lesotho this should be taken with a pinch of salt because the nation has become highly litigious where, at the slightest disagreement, people seek redress in court.

The problem is some of the cases can easily be settled through dialogue outside court, and such extra-legal measures should be encouraged in a country where judges and magistrates are reeling under a heavy backlog of cases, some of which have remained unresolved for years because the judicial officers are simply overwhelmed.

As we speak, three MPs have lodged an application with the High Court in a bid to block the motion.

Not to be outdone, it would seem, the other side through Advocate Salemane Phafane KC has also filed a notice of intent to oppose that application. We are not going to enter the fray because the matter has been thoroughly thrashed out in different fora throughout the week.

The question we need to ask is: Are the litigation costs and man hours spent on such cases really worth the energy and resources for a country with more immediate bread and butter worries such as hunger, unemployment, HIV, TB and the ever-increasing numbers of orphans and other vulnerable children?

We are not saying politics and governance are necessarily less important than the above-listed social needs. Instead, we are mindful of the fact that good politics constitute the launch pad from which all these needs can be addressed properly.

However, we think Lesotho has become so litigious that some of the cases could easily be settled through political dialogue rather than the expensive route of taking every dispute to court.

At the rate at which fresh court cases are opened daily in the country’s different courts, is it any wonder our courts are clogged with huge backlogs of cases?

We stand to be corrected but we think at this rate, Lesotho should be counted amongst countries with the highest number of court cases per capita. Even more important, we wonder to what extend Basotho should be allowed to judge the coalition government in posterity if they are not given enough space to exercise their leadership to carry the country forward.

If the three coalition parties are going to be bogged down by one impediment after another, when will they ever be given the chance to lead the nation?

We ask this question because we think Members of Parliament are all patriotic men and women who would not sacrifice larger national good on the altar of political expediency.

MPs, senators and cabinet ministers should realise that there is never enough time to deal with loads of tasks awaiting them, neither can there ever be a perfect government.

So we appeal to all these political leaders to realise that before they make a decision to pursue one dispute or the other among themselves, they should ask themselves the questions: How will the country benefit from fighting over a specific argument?

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