SADC tightens screws

SADC tightens screws

MASERU – SADC has pressured the Lesotho government to reopen parliament.
Justice Dikgang Moseneke, SADC’s facilitator in Lesotho, started tightening the screws this week after a meeting with senior government officials.
Justice Moseneke was here to finalise his report on Lesotho’s progress in implementing the SADC recommended security and constitutional reforms.
He is said to have used his meetings to push the government to reopen parliament.

Democratic Congress (DC) leader Mathibeli Mokhothu, who is the official leader of the opposition, told thepost that Justice Moseneke told them that the government had agreed to open parliament today.
Parliament was hastily adjourned on Monday after the opposition resisted the government’s motion to suspend a standing order that stipulates that a Bill should be scrutinised by the parliamentary committee before being put to a vote in the House.
The motive was to suspend that procedure so parliament could quickly pass the National Reforms Bill that seeks to create an independent body to oversee the implementation of the multi-sector reforms.
Fifty-six opposition MPs voted to block the motion and sent it back to the committee.
After only 49 of the government MPs supported the reforms bill Speaker Sephiri Motanyane announced that parliament would adjourn indefinitely, much to the chagrin of opposition MPs.
Their move could be seen as retaliation against the government they believe was briefly recalling parliament from the winter break only to discuss the bill when they have been clamouring for a chance to discuss their motion to push out Thabane.

They believe the Speaker is shielding the Prime Minister from a no confidence vote.
Mokhothu said they complained to Justice Moseneke who then pressured the government to reopen parliament.
“We told Justice Moseneke what transpired in parliament this week,” Mokhothu said.
He said the opposition met the judge as soon as he landed on Tuesday.
He said in that meeting, held at around 5pm, Justice Moseneke asked them why they resisted the motion to fast-track the bill.
“We told him that we had no problem with the bill but only wanted it to follow the proper procedure but to our surprise the government connived with the Speaker to indefinitely adjourn parliament,” Mokhothu said.

He said Justice Moseneke then met the government and asked why parliament had adjourned without passing the bill.
The judge then met the opposition again yesterday morning.
“He told us that the Deputy Prime Minister (Monyane Moleleki) was in the meeting and the government agreed to reopen parliament,” Mokhothu said.
He said Justice Moseneke told them he had come specifically for that bill because he wants to take it to the SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Tanzania this weekend.
Justice Moseneke is expected to leave for the summit today, as is Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. Justice Moseneke will submit his report on Lesotho.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lesego Makgothi, who arrived in Tanzania earlier this week, said he could not talk because he was in a meeting to prepare for the summit.
Government spokesman, Nthakeng Selinyane, said Justice Moseneke’s visit had nothing to do with the closure of parliament but the report he is preparing ahead of the summit.
“SADC is going to meet this week and all the necessary information will have to be documented for a report,” Selinyane said.
He said there was nothing peculiar about what happened in parliament on Monday.
“The main issue was if the Bill could be discussed by parliamentary committees or be read three times in parliament within a day,” he said, adding that the government only wanted the bill to be passed as soon as possible.

Majara Molupe

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