Policy formulation in the Ministry of Development Planning in the government of Lesotho.
This research study aimed at investigating policy formulation in the Ministry of Development Planning in Lesotho. It was driven by the conviction that public policy formulation in Africa is considered to be very conservative and restricted, with very little public involvement and no input from the general public. Lesotho as a country (and the Ministry of Development Planning in particular) is not immune to this practice. Authentic public participation - as opposed to rubberstamping - in the policy formulation process has been the subject for considerable research in academia. Decision-making in policy formulation is supposed to be grounded on public participation. However, the realisation of authentic public participation in decision-making in policy formulation remains a challenge for many countries including Lesotho. In this study, I examined the process of policy formulation in the Ministry of Development Planning of Lesotho. I employed the monitoring and evaluation theoretical framework to guide the study. The qualitative research methodology which comprised semi-structured interviews and document analysis was adopted. Four key questions were explored in the study: (i) How are policies formulated within the government of Lesotho by the Ministry of Development Planning? (ii) To what extent are various stakeholders included in the policy formulation process? (iii) How does public participation in policy formulation influence decision making within the government of Lesotho? (iv) Do party politics influence the policy formulation process in the government of Lesotho? The research findings of this study indicate that the majority of the citizens in Lesotho do not actively participate in policy decision-making processes in the Ministry of Development Planning. Civil society organizations are not functioning as they are expected to in policy formulation processes. The study further revealed that public participation on issues of policy formulation process in the Ministry is influenced by political affiliation of the citizenry. These findings led to the conclusion that public participation in policy decision-making processes in Lesotho is not done properly. The recommendation, therefore, is that the process should be detached from party politics so that policies could resonate with societal needs and enhance the process of community development.
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