Chaos in Parliament over wool and mohair

Chaos in Parliament over wool and mohair

MASERU – THERE was chaos in Parliament yesterday as MPs haggled over the new wool and mohair regulations.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Teboho Lehloenya, refused to allow the opposition to talk about the issue of wool and mohair regulations yesterday.
This was after the Agriculture Minister Mahala Molapo withdrew the wool and mohair regulations on Monday in Parliament.

The following day, the Minister of Small Businesses Chalane Phori re-instated the withdrawn regulations, sparking confusion among farmers.
Yesterday, the opposition demanded answers from the government on how it was handling the wool and mohair dispute.
The MP for Lebakeng, Semano Sekatle, questioned the legality of the debate on the wool and mohair issue by the House.
Sekatle argued that it was illegal for the House to debate a matter that was now a subject of the courts.

“The issue of wool and mohair is already in the courts. What are the underlying reasons that have prompted this House to discuss it?” Sekatle asked.
He told Parliament that he supports the push to have the wool and mohair being sold in Lesotho.
He said what baffled him, however, was why the farmers were not invited to Parliament when the issue was discussed as they were directly affected by the new regulations.
“Farmers should be part of the decision not the ministers to decide on their (behalf),” he said.

Lehloenya would have none of the matter and ordered Sekatle to sit down.
“Could you sit down honourable member because there is no point of order to all what you are saying; we have business to deal with today. This one was for yesterday,” Lehloenya said.
When the MP for Malingoaneng, Serialong Qoo, stood to support what Sekatle had said, he too was not given a chance by Lehloenya.
The exchange between Lehloenya and the opposition MPs sparked howls of protest from the opposition.

The MPs wanted the Speaker to allow them to talk arguing they are representing the interests of the electorate in Parliament.
But the Deputy Speaker refused to budge.
Phori told thepost yesterday that the regulations that Molapo withdrew “were the old ones that did not cover some of the important issues”.

“The document that I presented in Parliament repealed the one that was withdrawn. That one is no longer in use. The one that I presented started working last Thursday, on August 30,” he said.
Phori said the regulations that Molapo withdrew did not have a provision for the percentage that a broker will get after selling wool and mohair.
“The one that I tabled in parliament says the broker will deduct a four percent commission from the sales,” he said.

“This is meant to protect the very same farmers who are now complaining. The new regulations specifically say the deductions will not be done without the consent of the farmer,” he said.
Phori said the opposition is just “making noise unnecessarily instead of raising issues of importance”.
“Surely, this shows that these congress people are not represented in parliament. Those who say they represent them just make noise on non-issues.”
Molapo, however, told thepost that the regulations “were withdrawn because we realised that not all stakeholders were consulted”.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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