Maseru, Oct. 25 — Members of the public say that the current electoral model needs to change as it does not benefit the electorates but the Members of Parliament (MPs).
They said that after putting them in the National Assembly, the MPs make decisions that serve only them and do not care what they (masses) feel and say. They highlighted that MPs cross to different political parties without care of those that have elected them.
This follows the recent ongoing incidents in the country which include among others opposition parties wanting to overthrow the government.
Speaking in an interview, former MP and leader of National Independent Party (NIP) Mr. Kimetso Mathaba said that change of electoral model depends solely on Parliament saying that it is up to the Parliament through amendments of law to change that.
He said that it is a pity that Reforms Process is stagnant saying that in the plenary consultations, Basotho had indicated that they want changes citing that they said that the law on floor crossing has to change in that MPs have to at least defect to other parties after three years or make a referendum to the people who elected them.
Commenting on the issue of by-elections when constituency MP passes on, Mr. Mathaba stated that for the longest time as NIP were for the view that Lesotho should use 100 percent Proportional Representation (PR) to cut expenses incurred with by-elections.
“We had proposed in the past years in the Independent Political Authority (IPA) that Lesotho adopt the 100 percent PR, that we gradually move from 60 – 40 to 50 – 50 until we reach 100 percent. It is important and can work for Lesotho because currently things are not done for the benefit of Basotho therefore as politicians we end up not realising the importance of such things,” he said.
He indicated that South Africa uses 100 percent PR saying that it is doing very well economically.
On the other hand, Leader of Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane said that it is not easy for Lesotho to change the current electoral model. He said that 100 percent PR is not ideal saying that it is only going to put Basotho at the mercy of MPs.
He explained that as PFD, they had in their elections campaign been proposing the Multi Member Constituency which he said will mean no by-elections. He said that a Multi Member constituency or district is an electoral district electing more than one representative to office. All proportional representation systems are used, simply because it is impossible to distribute anything proportionally if there is only one seat.
He said that electors vote for as many candidates as vacant seats in their geographic division of the election, or they may vote for fewer candidates saying using a multi-member constituency / district and a system that allows a minority group to take all the seats, producing results just as un-proportional as single-winner First-past-the-post (FPTP).
He said that this system aligns well with local government as candidates or MPs will be taking mandate directly at district level, adding that it can help a lot in development. “We can be able to make the government accountable if it does not deliver,” he added.
He indicated that the strength of Multi Member Constituency / Districts rests in their ability to generate more balanced representation, both for certain groups traditionally under-represented, such as women and ethnic minorities and for political parties. He added that districts are able to do this, however, depending on both the magnitude of the districts and the voting rules employed.
Meanwhile, Lesotho currently uses 80 single-member constituencies (FPTP) and one nationwide constituency for the remaining 40 seats (PR).
In this Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) 80 candidates are directly elected by absolute majority in the single-member constituencies while the remaining 40 seats are allocated so as to reflect the proportion of votes each party obtained nationwide.