‘We will approach courts for relief’

‘We will approach courts for relief’

MASERUPARLIAMENT closed sine die on Monday pending consultations with the Attorney General on the legal procedures for the tabling of a vote of no-confidence against the government. The decision has been met with howls of protest from the opposition and a faction of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Professor Nqosa Mahao who have been pushing the no-confidence motion.

The Speaker of Parliament, Sephiri Motanyane, and his deputy, Teboho Lehloenya, argue that the motion cannot be tabled without the MP who filed it crossing to the opposition benches. They also insist that Samuel Rapapa, who has been nominated for the position of Prime Minister, should have been a leader of a political party in Parliament.

This week, thepost’s reporter, Nkheli Liphoto, spoke to a member of the Business Committee in Parliament, Selibe Mochoboroane, about these controversial issues. Mochoboroane is also the leader of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC). Below are excerpts of the interview:

This is not the first time that Parliament is voting on a no-confidence motion against a Prime Minister. Under normal circumstances what procedure is followed?

A proposal of motion is made and submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly then the Speaker will scrutinise it to see if it is in line with the Standing Orders and the Constitution. If so, he will accept it but if it does not comply, he will reject the motion and give it back to the proposer for correction.
And if he accepts the motion, he will refer it to the National Assembly clerks for proper typing so that it appears on the notice paper. A motion of no confidence takes just a day before appearing on the order paper but normal motions take three days before making it to the order paper.

Which section of the Constitution or Standing Order provides that the vote of no confidence must be proposed by someone on the opposition side or if it is an MP for the ruling party he or she should cross the floor before filing the motion?

There is nothing like that. There is no clause stipulating all that. Standing Orders and the Constitution do not say a person should be on the opposition side only for him to file a motion of no confidence against the government.

Which provision in the Constitution or Standing Orders says the nominee should be a party leader?

Section 87 of the Constitution says the nominee should be a leader of a political party that commands the majority or a leader of coalition of political parties. So in this case, Sam Rapapa is a leader of a coalition of political parties and the majority of political parties in Parliament have chosen him to be an alternative Prime Minister. It is right to do so.

Deputy Speaker Teboho Lehloenya moved a motion of no confidence against former premier Pakalitha Mosisili. Did the law bind him to cross the floor before filing the motion?

To my knowledge they were on the cross bench by then but the issue of crossing is not there too, it is not there in the Constitution and Standing Orders.

Do you see the entire requirement by the Speaker as throwing spanners that is meant to stop the success of the motion?

They are doing this because they realised that they have lost the numbers. There is nothing they can successfully vote for in Parliament now.
For instance, the sine die motion was supposed to be moved by the leader of the House but they played delaying tactics so that Standing Order 18, which provides that the Speaker should move the motion with the consent of the majority of parliamentarians present in the House by 6:30PM, should be moved when it is already too late.
It was not given enough time for debate. They had to look for other strategies because they do not have the numbers.

The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, filed a motion seeking to amend a section of the Constitution that gives the Prime Minister power to wait three days or go to the King to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections following defeat in no confidence motion. What will happen to his motion?

Metsing wanted the section repealed so that the Prime Minister would automatically vacate office after parliament showed it had no confidence in him. Metsing’s motion will not pass now since parliament has been closed sine die. They were running away from such motions because they will show that the power of the Prime Minister has dwindled.

Is there anything you can do for Metsing’s motion to come before the motion of no confidence?

That motion would take a long time too. It needs consultations because it needs two-thirds majority to alter the constitution.

Prime Ministerial position nominee Sam Rapapa’s motion seeks to repeal a clause of the Standing Orders so that the motion of no confidence is done through a secret ballot. Don’t you think it had to come before the motion of no confidence?

What is clear is that the opposition and our friends in government have more numbers than the government. There is advantage if the motion is granted and that simply means we will get the expected results. We are waiting for the Attorney General’s legal opinion now.
We have similar cases in which High Court judge (Justice Matanzima) Maqutu in Molapo Qhobela vs Ntsu Mokhehle and others said Mokhehle was no longer a leader of the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) and therefore should vacate office as Prime Minister.
They know this judgment and they are just doing everything to stop the motion. If they do not cooperate, we will end up going to courts of law for help.

Staff Reporter


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