MEC’s deputy leader talks tough

MEC’s deputy leader talks tough

MASERU-THE Movement for Economic Change (MEC) deputy leader, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena, has tabled a motion in Parliament that seeks to hold the government to account on its international commitments.
Tšita-Mosena said too often the government makes commitments at the United Nations and other international fora without first seeking a mandate from Parliament.

She said even those commitments are not followed up or executed.
The motion was tabled in Parliament last Friday.
She said the executive has to inform Parliament about international treaties and conventions domesticated in Lesotho so that they can be legally binding in the country.

The motion is titled: ‘Parliament Scrutiny, Appraisal and Oversight on International Commitments by the Government’.
“The motion is aimed at bringing Parliament and the executive to operate on the same footing,” Tšita-Mosena said.

“We should be informed as MPs when the executive, on behalf of the government, domesticates the treaties and conventions,” she said.
“So, when the country enters into these commitments, there should be a follow-up that the country would indeed put them into use.”
She said it is unfortunate that the executive is not bound by any law to account before Parliament on the treaties and conventions it says it has domesticated on behalf of the country.

“We lose integrity on the international level,” the MP said, adding that they are unable to tell how far the country would have gone regarding these commitments both locally and internationally.
She said this makes MPs feel embarrassed when they attend international forums because they are clueless as to the extent to which the government is using the international protocols in the country.

“This is because the executive is not (being) held accountable for the treaties and conventions before the august House,” she said.
Tšita-Mosena, a member of the SADC Parliamentary Committee, said “it is disgusting that when we attend forums with the ministers on the same issue, we talk differently”.

She said the motion is intended to help ministers account for the public funds that are used on their international trips where these treaties and conventions are signed.
“The budget should be used for the policies of the government,” she said.
The outspoken MP said there are still some conventions like the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the government has domesticated.

But it seems the government is not walking the talk because girls are still being discriminated against on a number of issues, she said.
Tšita-Mosena said ministers’ travel should also be justified because the money comes from the public purse.
She said it is wrong that they just allocate the budget as the MPs and are then unable to make a follow-up on it.

“Parliament has to make scrutiny so that there is a balance on the duties of the executive,” she said.
She maintained that the executive should be compelled to come before Parliament to account.

At present government ministers are not obliged to come to Parliament to make reports, she said.
Tšita-Mosena said the domestication of the international commitments also affect the enactment of Basotho laws.
She said they should know what the ministers are saying out there.
Also, when it comes to the issue of gender equality, there is a serious conflict between what the Laws of Lerotholi say as compared to the CEDAW.
She said when the country domesticates these conventions, Parliament should know so that they are able to take the executive to account.

Tšita-Mosena said Lesotho’s approach to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic issue should have been brought before Parliament and discussed so that the country could adopt the correct position.
Last year former foreign affairs minister Lesego Makgothi torched a storm after he pledged Lesotho’s support of Morocco in its fight to colonise Sahrawi.

Tšita-Mosena said the matter should have been debated in Parliament to allow the House to express its views rather than leave it to the executive alone.

Majara Molupe

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