Mosisili loses confidence vote

Mosisili loses confidence vote

MASERU – PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s government fell to a vote-of-no-confidence in Parliament yesterday.

That made him the first premier in Lesotho’s history to be subjected to a vote-of-no-confidence. Mosisili was not in Parliament when the motion was passed.

His government of seven parties is outnumbered by the opposition’s 74 MPs out of 120.
The opposition’s domination in Parliament was reflected in the overwhelming support the vote received.
In mitigation of the motion, the Alliance of Democrats (AD) spokesman Teboho Lehloenya, who is the Kolo MP, accused the government of failing to implement King Letsie III’s policy guidance when he opened Parliament.

Lehloenya said the King had said his government would curb corruption but it is now the same government which perpetuates it.
He referred to the controversial awarding of a government fleet tender to a South African company, Bidvest, without following procurement procedures.
He also said what was surprising was that government ministers were actively participating in the awarding of the tender against the law.

He also said some government ministers and senior officials were directly going to personally benefit in the arrangement in that they were to lease their vehicles under the scheme.
“We know them by names and we have made investigations,” Lehloenya said.
“There is nowhere in law where the cabinet interferes in procurement processes,” he said.

Lehloenya said what is surprising is that in this arrangement between the government and Bidvest, the vehicles’ insurance is paid for by the government.
He said however, where the government had said the ordinary Basotho would supply it with vehicles they were supposed to bring new ones but Bidvest is allowed to supply used ones.
Lehloenya said a parliamentary committee made researches and found that every government ministry and department’s funds were being deviated to the Bidvest account.
“It is because of this that the government is unable to deliver essential services to the people,” Lehloenya said.

“Even if you can go to a hospital, including the Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital, you will find that there are no drugs and medicines because this government has taken the money and given it to Bidvest.”
Lehloenya said to their shock, they discovered that some ministers’ bank accounts receive monies from Bidvest.
“We know these ministers by names,” he said.

Lehloenya said Mosisili, instead of suspending the former Finance Minister ’Mamphono Khaketla for misleading parliament promoted her to the position of Foreign Minister and thus made her the face of Lesotho internationally.

Lehloenya also said “it is a pity that the taxes of the people are thrown into the abyss by giving them to Bidvest”.
He also accused the government of not implementing the Phumaphi recommendations on the death of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao.
He said the recommendations clearly showed who should be prosecuted for murders, high treason and other crimes committed by the army but the government has ignored that.
“This is not how to improve the image of Lesotho in the eyes of the international community,” Lehloenya said.

Seconding Lehloenya’s motion, the ABC’s Mosalemane MP Samuel Rapapa said the government “is not interested in protecting people’s lives”.
“The clear example is that it does not even want to answer security-related questions in parliament,” Rapapa said, referring to a question about the death of Mosisili’s son Maile Mosisili in 2003.
He said the question was asked in parliament on July 7 last year but till today the government has not answered. Rapapa said the government has also been evasive on questions about Mahao’s death and the implementation of the Phumaphi report.

The Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) leader Keketso Rantšo said the government has lost parliament’s trust because it does not work hard to curb corruption.
Rantšo referred to the Ha-Matala Road which she said was not completed because the funds were misused.
She also said the Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing did not want to be quizzed about his source of money when it was apparent that there were questionable amounts of money being deposited into his bank accounts.

Minister of Law, Mootsi Lehata, said he was opposing the motion because it is the MPs who failed in their oversight duties if the government did these things.
“Where were they as the members of this Honourable House?” Lehata said.

Lehata also challenged the election of the AD leader Monyane Moleleki as the next Prime Minister saying “he does not have a mandate from the people”.
Lehata said those who complain about corruption should bear in mind that the last coalition government led by ABC leader Thomas Thabane chose not to prosecute an Israeli company, Nikuv, “because they protected corruption instead of ending it”.

Nikuv is accused of bribing Home Affairs officials so that it could land a lucrative tender to supply passports, identity documents and civil registry services to the government.
Last night Metsing said what happened in parliament yesterday is “a sign that our democracy has matured”.

“This is democracy at its best. You may recall that in the previous government we ended up with a lot of tension that almost led to a disaster because the then prime minister tried to avoid this democratic process,” Metsing said.

“We should appreciate what just happened because it sets a precedence for future generations. We now all have to seek a new mandate from the people”.

Staff Reporter

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