MPs walk out  of Parliament

MPs walk out of Parliament

MASERU – THERE was furore in parliament on Monday after the Speaker blocked a motion to discuss remarks by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane which the opposition claimed incited violence. The opposition walked out as Speaker Sephiri Motanyane failed to bring Malingaoneng MP, Serialong Qoo, who is also the spokesman for the biggest opposition party Democratic Congress, to order.

Qoo, who urged his fellow opposition MPs to chant “Motion, Motion” in total disregard of Motanyane’s calls for order, had thrown the august House into chaos as MPs shouted at each other.
The motion had been tabled by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing who complained that there had been a surge in incidents of violence perpetrated by the police after Thabane’s call.

Metsing said Thabane had urged the police to assault crime suspects.  He requested parliament to suspend some of its business to focus on halting the actions of the police who he said had seemed to literally heed the Prime Minister’s call to torture crime suspects. He referred to the recent murder of a man in Koro-Koro by the police last week and another in Semena in the same week.
“These actions of the police have been influenced by the statements of the Honourable Prime Minister in parliament and his other utterances at his rally in Ha-Abia,” Metsing said.
Metsing also wanted the House to order Thabane to publicly withdraw his statements. He also asked the House to discuss the government’s criteria of hiring staff for statutory positions.
He also expressed concern over the reappointment of Dr Kananelo Mosito as the President of the Court of Appeal after he was found guilty by a tribunal set up by King Letsie III.
Metsing also challenged the appointment of Pheello Ralenkoane as the National Security Service (NSS) boss because he stood for the past parliamentary election under a Basotho National Party (BNP) banner.

He also challenged the appointment of the Acting Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, but did not tell Parliament why the appointment was wrong.
“These appointments are meant to deprive the courts of their independence and to drag the security forces into politics,” Metsing said.
Metsing had tabled the motion as urgent.

However, Motanyane refused to allow the discussion of the motion arguing the matters raised were not urgent.
Motanyane said according to the Standing Order No. 29 the motion lacked urgency.
The Standing Order says “any member who is not a minister may on any day…rise in his or her place and ask to leave to move the adjournment of the business before the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance”.

He said sub-section 2 of the order demands that such a member should “hand to the Speaker a written notification of the matter which such Member wishes to discuss”.
“The Speaker shall refuse to allow the claim unless the Speaker is satisfied that the matter is definite, urgent and of public importance,” he said.
Motanyane argued that although the motion was definite and of public importance it was not urgent.
The ruling did not sit well with Qoo who stood up and started saying Motanyane was being unfair.

The Lebakeng MP, Semano Sekatle, who is also the DC secretary general, tried to argue that it is for the House to decide whether the motion should be discussed or not and not the Speaker.
Sekatle read a section that said should there be a dispute on what motion should be discussed, at least 15 MPs can stand up to show they support the motion and the House would be compelled to discuss it.

But all this was in vain. Moyanyane said he had reached his conclusion and he was not going to allow the MPs to discuss the motion because it was not urgent.
It was at that moment when Qoo called all opposition MPs to stand up to show that they supported the discussion of the issues that had been raised.
When Motanyane did not allow them, they chanted ‘motion, motion’ and walked out of Parliament.

Staff Reporter

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