MPs: lead by example

MPs: lead by example

WE wish to strongly condemn the rowdy scenes that we saw in Parliament last Friday.
Emotions ran high with MPs from both sides of the House pushing and shoving each other in scenes that disgraced Parliament.
At the centre of the storm was Democratic Congress (DC) MP, Serialong Qoo, who accused Speaker of Parliament Sephiri Motanyane of tacitly backing the torture of crime suspects in police custody.
Qoo argued that by failing to condemn Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s call for the police to torture suspects, the Speaker had tacitly endorsed the torture of suspects.

It was a wild connection that infuriated MPs from the ruling coalition. The MPs, led by Fako Moshoeshoe, MP for Mabote then confronted Qoo, sparking a brawl in the august House. While heckling is an acceptable form of behaviour in a parliamentary democracy, MPs must ensure they uphold the dignity of the House.

It is a pity that MPs succeeded in reducing Parliament to the farcical levels that we saw last week; which was a disgrace.
But we have a simple message to all of them: they must quickly grow up.

It is a sheer waste of time and resources for MPs to engage in physical fights while the majority of Basotho wallow in poverty.
Instead of pursuing a narrow power retention agenda, MPs must focus on programmes to improve the lot of our people.
There is no doubt that Lesotho is a highly polarised society; such polarisation is clearly evident right there in Parliament.

But if we are to move forward as a country, we must allow unfettered and mature debate within the House on pertinent issues that affect society.
There is absolutely no need to stoop to the levels of depravity that we saw last week to advance a political argument.
MPs can still put across their arguments in a forceful manner without being offensive. That takes sober and careful thinking.
We hope MPs from both sides will rise to the occasion and engage in a vigorous battle of wits and ideas.

No one expects them to use their fists. Parliament must be a platform for constructive debate and not physical battles.
At the centre of the whole fiasco is an underlying grievance by the opposition that the Speaker is biased in favour of the government.
Motanyane must heed their cries for fairness. He must be balanced and fair in executing his duties so that no MP would feel hard-done by the Speaker.

At the same time opposition MPs must desist from unnecessarily provoking the Speaker. It would not be in their interest to do so.
The chaotic scenes we saw in Parliament will do little to deepen our democracy and improve the lot of our people and so we hope what we saw last Friday was the last time MPs will stoop that low.

 

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