GOVERNMENT WITHOUT OFFICIAL OPPOSITION: THE CASE OF LESOTHO 1993-1998

 

by

Dr. Fako J. Likoti I Department o f Politics and Administrative Studies I National University o f Lesotho

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Abstract

From 1993 to 1998, Lesotho was governed without an official opposition in parliament. This situation destabilised the country’s fragile democracy. The paper speculates that the country's stability, public policies and development programmes suffered adversely because o f the problem o f one dominant party governing alone. A t the same time, the electoral system in Lesotho at the time was not able to reward losing parties, which gained less than 37 percent o f electoral support for opposition to be represented in parliament. Consequently, opposition parties engaged in concerted efforts to unseat the ruling party. Their efforts culminated in the unconstitutional removal of elected government by the King in 1994 and the incessant political instability in 1998, which led to the combined South African and Botswana military intervention in the country. The lack of opposition also prompted factionalism within the ruling party, ending with its fragmentation and the birth of LCD, which won the 1998 elections. Furthermore, the lack of opposition in parliament resulted in public policies not being adequately debated as the ruling party in 1993 and 1998 enjoyed concurrence from its members in parliament.