Deputy Speaker booted out

Deputy Speaker booted out

MASERU-Teboho Lehloenya, was this week booted out as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament as the new coalition government steps up its purge of all officials aligned to the Alliance of Democrats.

Fifty-eight MPs voted for the motion to oust Lehloenya with 48 opposing the move. The voting pattern however suggests there were 24 MPs from the ruling parties who defied their parties’ positions to oust Lehloenya.

The AD has 13 seats in Parliament with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy having 11, making a total of 24. One ballot paper was spoiled.
There is therefore a high likelihood that some disgruntled All Basotho Convention (ABC) MPs, unhappy with the new coalition government, might have voted to save Lehloenya.

Lehloenya, a senior figure within former deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s AD party, is a hate-figure within the new government following what they said were his robust yet futile attempts to save Thomas Thabane’s government.

The vote-of-no-confidence against Lehloenya was filed by the MP for Motete constituency, Tumahole Lerafa.
“It can happen to the government, and to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker too,” Lerafa said.

He said the same thing happened when the Deputy Speaker himself filed a motion of no confidence against the then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
“There is nothing personal on the motion as it is a norm in Parliament,” Lerafa said.

He said the Deputy Speaker is not a Member of Parliament but was invited by members of his AD party to come and help while they were in government.

Lerafa said Lehloenya was “invited to come and help his party push its agenda”.
He said the AD wanted Lehloenya to help protect the previous government led by Thomas Thabane.

Lerafa said the party that appointed Lehloenya is now on the opposition side.
He said there is a Sesotho adage that says “u se ke ua tšepa khomo ea lefisa” loosely translated, never bank your hopes on what is not yours because the owner will soon take it.

Lerafa said Lehloenya “is not a member of any party in government therefore one wonders whose agenda he is pushing or he will push if he still remains in office”.

Lerafa said they had asked Lehloenya “to do the honourable thing of resigning as the Deputy Speaker” but he refused until they decided to push him out through a vote-of-no-confidence.

He said they did not want to embarrass Lehloenya but he chose to be removed in this way.
“So now we will (expose) his weaknesses,” Lerafa said.
He said in most cases when Lehloenya was chairing, the House went into disorder.

He said sometimes while chairing, Lehloenya became part of debates which was not correct.
“We heard him on Thursday asking a minister a question,” Lerafa said.
He said at one point, China invited some committee chairmen to Beijing but Lehloenya hijacked the trip and made it his.

“The right candidate did not go but the Deputy Speaker did and he never gave a report on the journey,” Lerafa said.
He said the deputy speaker went on that trip to enjoy himself.
He said if left in that position, Lehloenya would do “big things” that will have serious consequences for Lesotho.

Lerafa said at one point, Mosalemane MP Sam Rapapa once suggested that Parliament’s rules on voting be changed to allow MPs to vote through a secret ballot but Lehloenya “hijacked” the matter and changed it to suit his agenda.

“He did not know that could have protected him today,” he said.
He said they wanted voting to be done openly not through a secret ballot so that the deputy speaker could feel the pinch.

However, Speaker Sephiri Motanyane decided that the vote be through a secret ballot.
“Secret ballot was used when appointing him but now why can we not use it now,” Motanyane said.

Motanyane told members to write “Yes” if they agreed with the motion and “No” if they wanted Lehloenya to continue as the deputy speaker.
The Maama MP, Mankoe Maime, supported the motion of no-confidence against Lehloenya.

Maime said the truth is that “every man trusts his own cows or dogs”.
“The Deputy Speaker used to say Pakalitha Mosisili should go home therefore it is time for him to leave as the same law still applies,” Maime said.

The leader of AD, Monyane Moleleki, said he opposed the motion “because this is not the time for this”.
Moleleki argued that the National Reforms Authority (NRA) had just been established and it is behind time, saying focus must be on the reforms.

Moleleki said 12 months of the NRA members’ contract will lapse before their actual work even began while MPs focus on removing each other from office.
“Members are busy hurting each other instead of helping on serious issues,” Moleleki said.
“The timing for the motion is very wrong,” he said.
“We just passed the law that really hurt me, the ninth amendment to the Constitution.”

The amendment cut the Prime Minister’s power to advise the King to dissolve Parliament when he loses a vote-of-no-confidence in the House.
“Some issues are done with high emotions and that is why perfection will never be reached,” Moleleki said.

“We are the laughing stock of the world,” he said.
Moleleki said members should cool down until reforms are complete.
He said people refuse to mature to the extent that at every SADC summit Lesotho forms part of the agenda.

“I beg all of you to withdraw the motion,” Moleleki said.
The MPs ignored Moleleki and voted out Lehloenya.

Nkheli Liphoto

Previous Emotional send-off for Manyai
Next Farmers’ roll back hunger

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