When the state is weak, constitutional reforms are a prerequisite

When the state is weak, constitutional reforms are a prerequisite

The main function of the state is to sustain and maintain order and stability in society. The state is made up of different institutions (government) to provide services for the public. Government is part of the state, but its temporary; it is the means through which the state is brought into operation, and it exercises impersonal authority.

In its broadest sense, to govern means to rule or control others. Government can, therefore, be considered to include any mechanism through which ordered rule is maintained, its central features being the ability to make collective decisions and the capacity to enforce them.

Every state has its government, and the latter signifies those specific persons who hold official positions and wield authority on behalf of the state. Governments in this sense will change, while the same state continues. Government, therefore, implies a distinction within the state between rulers and the ruled. For the state to operate effectively and efficiently there must be a constitution which serves as a roadmap for its operations. This roadmap must be updated from time-to-time to be in keep it abreast with contemporary developments; hence the need for constitutional reforms.

Dearlove and Sauders described the state as an entity composed of seven institutions. These are the Public service, Police, National Army, National Security, Industries, and the Banks. When any of these institutions are weak, such institutions are easily captured.

Most of these institutions in Lesotho are weak and their independence is eroded. The appointments within them are always based on clientelism and not expertise. In such a weak state, appointment of an individual is a payment for loyalty to the person who appoints the incumbent. These unmerited appointments are highly frequent in Lesotho. In this weak state, performance is not a prerequisite, but favouritism and nepotism are. You scratch my back, I will scratch yours. Quality decision-making and policy formulation in such a state is not obtainable. In fact, decision is made elsewhere, where the appointer resides. It is this state of affairs that compels countries to undertake Constitutional reforms as a consequence of this ineffectiveness and cross incompetence of a state.

We know that Lesotho is in dire need for reforms. This is a country where five Commissioners of Police were appointed within months. It is a weak state, where a head of the NSS is a party candidate who lost elections and appointed against the laws of the state. It is a state where appointments are based on nepotism. Look at the Granny who was just appointed at the Embassy after qualifying for Mosisli’s old age pension, while graduates are rooming the streets. Only in Lesotho, you have Members of Parliament with less than a primary school qualification. Only in Lesotho you have to be related to someone in the top echelons of government to be a board member of some prestigious company without requisite qualifications. Only in Lesotho academics are left out when reforms are made, but less qualified people are considered.

It is a fact that Lesotho is captured and “rotten to the core”. Academics are rooming the streets while uneducated people call the shots within the state. You only need to go around and look at the heads of many these state institutions. Most of them their academic backgrounds are wanting. For example, look at the security sector and many other institutions. When the state is rotten this is what you find.

Political appointments in our weakened state are abused. That is, not based on expertise, but on loyalty and clientelism. In local lexicon, you only need to be a good party dancer and an empty holler on some radio station to get a top job in government minus qualifications while graduates are rooming the streets.

Currently, the country is said to be going through reforms, but academics as usual are left out. The question is what are you reforming? In some Embassies the state is paying two Ambassadors as a consequence of bad decisions, probably taken somewhere on the basis of Neopatrimonialism which has seriously afflicted the Lesotho. The weakness of the Lesotho state has necessitated Constitutional reforms.

Dr. FAKO LIKOTI

 

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