Committee to probe MPs fracas

Committee to probe MPs fracas

MASERU – PARLIAMENT this week set up a committee to investigate the disturbances that took place in the House last Friday.
Malingoaneng MP, Serialong Qoo, who is the spokesperson for the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) party, was at the centre of the furore after he accused the Speaker, Sephiri Motanyane, of bias.

His attack on the Speaker did not go down well with ruling party MPs who then confronted Qoo, sparking a melee in the House.
Mabote MP, Fako Moshoeshoe, was one of the ruling party MPs who crossed to the opposition’s side when Qoo was arguing with the Speaker.
Parliament’s Committee on Ethics, Code of Conduct, Immunities and Privileges will now investigate the disturbances.
Motanyane announced on Tuesday that the committee will deal with the MPs ‘unruly’ behaviour in the House.

The committee is made up of Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) spokesman, Teboho Sekata, Democratic Congress (DC) chairman Motlalentoa Letsosa, Basotoland Congress Party (BCP) leader Thulo Mahlakeng, all of whom are members of the opposition together with Qoo.

The ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) MPs who are members of the committee are Prince Maliehe and Samuel Rapapa while ’Mathabo Moremoholo is from the Alliance of Democrats. Rakuoane said they are still to get a lawyer to help them lay charges against those involved in the disturbances.

It is not clear when the committee will be expected to present its findings to Parliament.
On Monday, Qoo tried to withdraw his statement against Motanyane but was denied the opportunity to do so when he stood on a point of order.
“Do not pre-empt what the outcome will be, Honourable Member for Malingoaneng,” Motanyane said.
Qoo on Friday told Motanyane that he was behind the lawlessness taking place in the country because he had failed to rein in Prime Minister Thomas Thabane when he encouraged the police to beat up crime suspects.
“I am telling you Ntate Motanyane. The situation is where it is because of you. Police are beating the people because of you,” Qoo said, while pointing at the Speaker.

The Speaker ordered Qoo to take his seat but he refused, instead he raised his voice higher.
He told the Speaker that he has a right to speak in Parliament because he is representing the people in his Malingoaneng constituency.
The exchange of words between the Speaker and Qoo lasted for about 10 minutes.

Qoo told the Speaker to sit down “so that I can explain to you that you are the one who has plunged this country into rampant lawlessness”.
“You cannot mislead Lesotho Ntate Motanyane. Lesotho is now finished. And it is you who is pushing this country into darkness,” he said.
There was a lot of noise as Qoo confronted the Speaker.

He said it was because of Motanyane that three opposition leaders, DC’s deputy leader Mathibeli Mokhothu, LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing and his deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi had fled the country. Qoo further told the Speaker that he is “the one who has sown confusion amongst the Basotho nation”.
He said many people are dying at the hands of the police after Thabane encouraged them to beat up suspects.
“It is you who has killed these people,” he said.

During the heated debate, some MPs from the ruling coalition crossed the floor to the opposition MPs.
And there was a brief exchange of fists. But the fight was immediately stopped.
Motanyane suspended the House and requested the Whips from both sides to come to his office.
After the short break, there was heavy deployment of police officers in the well.

The Speaker told the MPs that they are free to disagree. “But that should be within the limits of the law, and within the limits of civilised society,” Motanyane said.

Majara Molupe

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