The heavy cost of forgetting history

The heavy cost of forgetting history

A motion of no confidence was officially filed by the MP for Koro Koro, Motebang Koma, and was seconded by the MP for Qalabane, Motlalentoa Letsosa, on June 5, 2019.
However the leader of the House Deputy Prime Minister Moleleki on Monday unfortunately proposed that Parliament should be closed sine die.
There is absolutely no difference between Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s act to prorogue Parliament in 2014 and his act to close Parliament sine die in 2019. In these two acts, he is running away from the motion of no confidence.

In both incidents, he acted within his legal rights but we know it’s unethical for him to close Parliament when the motion of no confidence has been filed. But we also know what will eventually happen when the international community puts pressure on him to open Parliament.
He will volunteer to take us to general elections which he will lose badly.
The Speaker of Parliament is known for raising technicalities that are not supported by the Constitution nor Parliament’s standing orders.

In 2014, Motanyane forced those who proposed the motion to write their names and submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Last week he said a member of the House, Sam Rapapa, had to be seated on the crossbench and also needed to be a leader of a political party for him to be nominated as Prime Minister.
I want us to make reference to the constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Parliamentary Standing Orders in order for us to determine what is a fact.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho in section 83 (5) clearly states that: A resolution of no confidence in the Government of Lesotho shall not be effective for the purposes of subsection (4)(b) unless it proposes the name of a member of the National Assembly for the King to appoint in the place of the Prime Minister.
Standing Order 111 also supports what the constitution stipulates on 83 (5): A member may move a motion, for which one clear day’s notice is required in the following form: “That this House has no confidence in the Government of Lesotho”, to which may be added reasons for so stating and to which shall be added the name of a Member of the House for his Majesty to appoint in the place of the Prime Minister.

Note that Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Parliamentary Standing Orders do not mention a leader, but simply states that the motion of no confidence should include a name of a Member of the House for his Majesty to appoint in the place of the Prime Minister.
Clearly Motanyane and the Business Committee chose to ignore these two mentioned clauses but they rather focused on section 87 (2): “The King shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of the National Assembly who appears to Council of the State to be the leader of the political party or coalition of political parties that will command the support of a majority of the members of the National Assembly.”

Motanyane and Moleleki must revisit a judgement by Justice Winston Churchill Maqutu in the case of Ntsu Mokhehle v Molapo Qhobela & 15 Others CIV/APN/75/97. Justice Maqutu gives the correct interpretation of the section 87 (2) of the Constitution of Lesotho.
According to Justice Winston Churchill Maqutu, interpretation of the words political party or political parties found in Section 87 (2) do not mean ordinary political parties that are registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

He said it means a Parliamentary party or a grouping of MPs pursuing a common parliamentary work and purpose. In this case, Ntsu Mokhehle was challenging his dismissal from the leadership of the BCP.
The Court made the following ruling: “Applicant can remain Prime Minister although he might have ceased to be the party leader of the BCP. The position of Prime Minister depends on the support of the majority of members of Parliament who are elected to serve a five-year term. They can make or unmake Prime Ministers as they see fit.

Parliament is a national and constitutional organ of the State not of the BCP. Members of the National Assembly who support the Prime Minister may vote him out of office and propose the name of someone else for appointment as Prime Minister at any time in terms of Section 87(8) read along with Section 87(5)(a) and (7)(e) of the Constitution”
Justice Maqutu further emphasised the manner in which Parliament should operate: “The BCP as a political party does not feature prominently. Its members are recognised by the Constitution as individuals despite the use of the term political party in the Constitution. If they choose to be under the party whip and act collectively, it is their choice. The party does not feature by law in the making or the unmaking of the Prime Minister. Party participation and discipline in Parliament among members of Parliament is an internal affair of the political party.

Therefore, removing applicant from the leadership of the BCP would be personally humiliating to applicant, but it would not affect his position as Prime Minister as long as the majority of the members of the National Assembly support him.”
History has a funny way of reminding Motanyane of his inefficiencies that he never learned to deal with in the past. It’s powerful enough to expose him of his past unlearning so much that he is condemned to repeat it.
I also wish to remind Speaker Motanyane that in 1965, Chief Maseribane became the first Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho after Dr Leabua Jonathan, the leader of Basotho National Party (BNP), had lost elections in Kolonyama.

Truth is, the 1993 Constitution is just a mirror image of the independence constitution on the fundamental structures and functioning of government.
As I conclude it is important to warn Basotho that if we are unable to learn and correct our mistakes, those mistakes have a silly way of catching up with us and we will be punished to repeat them. That’s the heavy cost of forgetting history.

Ramahooana Matlosa

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Next Lesotho: Cry the beloved country

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