MPs need training on etiquette

MPs need training on etiquette

THE word honourable is an adjective used as a title for certain high officials who include Members of Parliament. The other words that are related to honourable include but are not limited to principled, ethical, moral, respectable and reputable. In essence this means that people on whom this title is bestowed upon, should at all times try to adhere to what it means.

Conversely when it comes to the beautiful Mountain Kingdom, I have observed with dismay that some of the people who use the title honourable do not appear to live by the demands of the title.
I will cite a few examples in this article to really justify my assumption that there are people in high ranking offices who should not be using this title.

Firstly we have the Hon. Minister of Defence Tefo Mapesela. When it comes to this member of the august house we are always waiting with bated breaths to hear what scandal he has been involved in.
Mapesela has been in the public eye for the wrong reasons for a number of years now. For instance he was at one time allegedly terrorising the poor villagers at a village in Kolonyama. The other time he was brandishing and wielding a gun at Khubetsoana residents.

This kind of behaviour is totally unbefitting for a minister and MP. Last week he outdid himself when he openly criticised his Principal Secretary and the LDF command for being insubordinate. The minister did not mince his words when he told all and sundry that he was not informed that the security details of Ministers would be interfered with.
The angry Mapesela did not spare any feeling as he tore into the PS and the Commander.

Secondly, there is Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Machesetsa Mofomobe, dubbed “the Minister of Facebook” by his detractors.
This Hon Deputy Minister is notorious for always causing a storm on social media. He is fearless and really doesn’t care much about his reputation. He can sink as low as trading insults in a Facebook group with people hiding behind fake accounts. Last week he exceeded himself when he caused panic by broadcasting that the Lesotho Defence Force had recalled the Ministers’ security.

These utterances had the potential to cause turmoil in an already distressed country. Had the Deputy Minister been aware of the power his statements had and the amount of influence he has on the ordinary citizen he would have refrained from some of his actions.
Thirdly, we have Hon Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing Chalane Phori. We heard with shock when during an interview with one local radio station he could not stick to being professional. During the radio interview Phori traded unpleasant words with one of the programme’s regular callers.

Lastly, as a keen follower of our parliamentary proceedings, I have observed the behaviour that is sometimes displayed by our honourable MPs. In some instances I have even heard the Speaker reprimanding the MPs for behaviour that is not honourable and for utterings that are not in line with parliamentary etiquette.

The above mentioned incidents are just a few examples of what I call behaviour that lacks honourable status. In fact, if I were too tabulate all incidents I would take more time and even more writing space.
However, I think the mentioned cases are enough to really justify that there is indeed a problem that must be addressed here. As such I have a few suggestions on how we can overcome these problems that are threatening to taint the good image of our MPs and honourable Ministers.
These are the people we should be looking up to. As such they should be assisted in ensuring that they conform to the highest standards that will gain them respect from ordinary citizens.

Therefore I suggest that all those that have been given the responsibility to lead, should be inducted. The induction programme should not be a once off thing but should be done continuously to maintain the momentum and standards.
Through the engagement of institutions such as IEMS, LIPAM and IDM, these leaders should be enrolled in short courses that will improve their leadership skills and teach them how to conduct themselves in public. We need to have a group of respectable leaders who will be responsible role models to the youth and our young children.

I suggest that some of the courses should be presented at the induction programme should be on etiquette, public speaking, emotional intelligence, confidence and assertiveness, leadership and innovation as well as communication strategies, to mention just a few.
The importance of this induction course is that we will at least have respectable leaders who are deserving of the title honourable, leaders that will not proverbially roll in the mud with the pigs.

Kelello Rakolobe

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