In Lesotho, government announces intent to split failed omnibus constitutional reform bill into three separate bills

By Peter Fabricius, 26 May 2023
Flag of Lesotho (photo credit: David_Peterson via pixabay)
Flag of Lesotho (photo credit: David_Peterson via pixabay)
Politicians are [...] squabbling over seats in Parliament and jobs in government, jeopardising reforms that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been trying to midwife for almost a decade. [...] At the heart of the problem is the 11th Amendment to the Constitution Bill – aka the Omnibus Bill – which contains most of the changes emanating from Lesotho’s 2018-19 national dialogue on reform. SADC instituted the dialogue after the turmoil in the country starting nearly 10 years ago[.] [...] The reforms are designed to stabilise the country by depoliticising the military, police and wider bureaucracy, and stabilising Parliament, among other measures. When it became clear that the Omnibus Bill wouldn’t pass before the last Parliament adjourned in July 2022, then prime minister Moeketsi Majoro recalled Parliament via a State of Emergency to adopt the legislation. But the courts rejected that move, and Lesotho went to elections last October without the vital reform bill enacted. All the political parties pledged to revive the bill after the elections, but major problems have arisen over how they are doing that. This week Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Nthomeng Majara, confirmed in a speech relayed to ISS Today by local journalists that her government intended to fundamentally restructure the Omnibus Bill. The government proposed dismantling it into three parts: a bill for laws that Parliament could pass with a simple majority; another for laws that would require amending entrenched clauses in the constitution by a two-thirds majority in Parliament; and a third that would impact doubly entrenched clauses and require approval by referendum. But she said not all ‘stakeholders’ supported this approach, so government had sought mediation to resolve the impasse.
Read the full article here: Institute for Security Studies


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