Drama rocks Parly

Drama rocks Parly

Rose Moremoholo

MASERUTHERE was chaos in parliament on Tuesday when Speaker of Parliament Ntlhoi Motsamai refused to entertain attempts by the opposition to remove her deputy Montšuoe Lethoba.
Parliament was pushing a motion of a no-confidence-vote against Lethoba. Motsamai had received a notice of the motion from the Basotho National Party (BNP)’s deputy leader Joang Molapo and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL)’s, ’Mamolula Ntabe.

As the opposition demanded to discuss Lethoba’s fate, the Speaker announced that she was adjourning parliament indefinitely.
That move further infuriated opposition MPs who saw it as a way of stonewalling their motion and a possible ploy to sabotage their plan to push a vote-of-no-confidence against Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

Motsamai told parliament that she was not going to allow Molapo’s motion because his notice had not given specific reasons why the opposition wanted Lethoba out.
“I called those who suggested the motion so that I could hear their reasons but they failed to give me any,” Motsamai said.
“I am contemplating on the motion and I will reach a conclusion when I have (understood their reasons).”

“It is in our liberty to not state any reasons until the motion is put before the House,” Molapo however retorted as tempers flared.
Butha Buthe MP, Motlohi Maliehe, who is also the chairman of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), said the Standing Orders say an MP “may” furnish the Speaker with reasons. If giving reasons was mandatory then the order would have used the word ‘shall’ instead of ‘may’ which is optional.

Another motion was from the Democratic Congress (DC) deputy secretary general, Refiloe Litjobo, who challenged Motsamai’s decision on a letter the party had written her announcing withdrawal from the coalition government.
Motsamai’s decision was that she was yet to contemplate on what to do and therefore could not allow parliament to discuss or respond to the DC issue.
“It too lacked reasons,” Motsamai said.

Tuesday’s parliamentary debates followed Monday’s drama in which armed police stormed the well of parliament after a bitter exchange between Lethoba and the opposition side.
All hell broke loose when Lethoba told MPs that he could not deal with their motions because he was not the Speaker.
Opposition MPs then told him that he had no business conducting parliamentary affairs if he was not the Speaker.
After calling for order Lethoba adjourned parliament, leaving the opposition MPs furious.
At that time, an ABC MP ’Mamandla ’Musa rushed to the centre of the well and blocked the sergeant-at-arms so that he could take the mace which would indicate that the Speaker was leaving the House.

At that time, more opposition MPs ran to the centre of the well.
There was hurly-burly in the House until armed police officers entered and one of the officers grabbed the mace and left.
At the time Lethoba had already left the House.

The police’s entry into the well irked the DC deputy leader Monyane Moleleki who later said he was worried that one day the MPs would be shot in parliament.
Moleleki said no one has the right to enter the well if they are not MPs or those that serve in the well.
“This place can be described as a holy place, it is sacred and need not be defiled by anyone who has no right to enter,” Moleleki said.
Moleleki said journalists can be given a corner to mount their cameras but none is allowed in the well especially someone with a gun.
“We know what a gun does, we know what it was created to do,” Moleleki said.

Moleleki further castigated police officers who had blocked the road leading to the parliament.
“The parliament is the house of the people, now when they are denied to come where they have all the rights to be by security forces, it becomes wrong,” he said.
Motsamai said she was not aware of the incident that happened on Monday and would need footage to see what happened.
“What kind of picture are you portraying to us if you are saying you were never aware of the happenings of yesterday (Monday)? What do you communicate with your deputy?” Moleleki said.

Motsamai said she was aware that the House has changed, the way of communication in the parliament is to have debates and not fight physically as was said to have happened on Monday.

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