Metsing digs in

Metsing digs in

Staff Reporter

MASERU – DEPUTY Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing this week demanded that the opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) and a faction of the Democratic Congress (DC) party should stop masquerading as the new government.

In an official statement released on Tuesday, Metsing said DC deputy leader Monyane Moleleki and the ABC leader Thomas Thabane’s statement last week that they were forming a new government was highly misleading.

“This claim gives an impression that their agreement in itself is the formation of a new government and this misleads the people,” Metsing said.

Moleleki and Thabane last week signed an agreement they said will pave way for the formation of a new inclusive government. Moleleki is tipped to be the new Prime Minister for a period of 18 months with Thabane serving as his deputy.

However, Thabane will take over for the remaining 18 months as premier before fresh elections.

Moleleki and Thabane told a press conference last Thursday that the deal they had signed “sets out the agreement for the operation of the coalition government for the duration of the remaining term of the ninth parliament”.

But Metsing said that statement was highly misleading.

“The people out there will understand this agreement of these honourable ones to mean that they have already formed the new government, which is not the case,” Metsing said.

Metsing’s statement came four days after Moleleki’s faction, which controls the DC’s national executive committee, signed the deal with Thabane without Mosisili’s blessings.

The DC faction says it has suspended Mosisili for working at cross-purposes with the party’s wishes while Mosisili has also sought to fight back by suspending the executive committee.

The dispute has now spilled into the High Court. The court is set to rule on the matter today.

While the tussle for control of the DC drags on, Thabane and Moleleki say their coalition is now “commanding a majority in the National Assembly and thereby entitled to form a coalition government pursuant to s87(2) of the Constitution of Lesotho”.

“Those people (referring to Mosisili’s faction and six parties in the current coalition government) are left with only 42 seats out of 120,” Moleleki said.

“They are now what I talked about in 2012 when we broke away from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), that is a minority government,” he said.

“They are still a government because there has not been any official change yet but it is undeniable that they do not have enough seats to be a legitimate government,” he said.

“The Constitution of Lesotho provides that a party or a coalition of parties that has a majority of seats in the National Assembly shall form the government.”

The DC secretary general Ralechate ’Mokose said they expected the Speaker of Parliament Ntlhoi Motsamai to present last week’s agreement to King Letsie III last Friday.

He said in terms of the constitution, the King would then call Mosisili to make way for the incoming government.

“If Ntate Mosisili hesitates, then the King will invite the Council of State, which will give directions based on the provisions of the constitution,” Moleleki said.

“He has no other legal option but to give way to the incoming government,” he said.

Moleleki also said it would be legally odd if Motsamai would not present their agreement to the King “because in terms of the law she is expected to do that”.

By yesterday, thepost understands Motsamai had still not presented the ABC and DC coalition agreement to the King.

Motsamai, who is the DC’s Hlahloeng constituency MP, is said to be fighting in Mosisili’s corner in the party’s squabbles.

However, efforts to contact Motsamai were not successful yesterday.

The Basotho National Party (BNP) deputy leader, Joang Molapo whose party signed in support of the ABC/DC coalition, told thepost yesterday that they are expecting the leader of the opposition who is a member of the Council of State to explain to the King what has taken place.

Thabane, who is still in exile in South Africa, serves as the leader of the opposition in Parliament.

“Even if the current Prime Minister decides to tell the King any story other than that he has lost numbers in Parliament, the King will still officially know when the Council of States sits,” Molapo said.

“He will be officially told that this government has lost the numbers and that the majority of MPs have chosen a new man to be Prime Minister,” he said.

“Ntate Thabane will just tell the King that he is supporting Ntate Moleleki to be the new Prime Minister.”

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