Speaker shoots down secret ballot

Speaker shoots down secret ballot

MASERU – Speaker of Parliament, Sephiri Motanyane, this week rejected a plea from disgruntled MPs for a secret ballot to oust Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro.
Tefo Mapesela, seconded by the Alliance of Democrats (AD) backbencher Kose Makoa, had filed a motion seeking to oust Majoro through a secret ballot.
Mapesela, who leads the Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP), met Motanyane on Monday.

He told thepost that Motanyane had rejected his call outright telling him that “it will not happen and that it has to be public”.
Mapesela said Motanyane was adamant that nothing of that sort had “ever happened (before) and it is not going to happen now”.
“He told us that parliament (acts) in the interests of the nation therefore voting should be done publicly,” Mapesela said.
The motion was submitted to Motanyane on Tuesday after the motion leaders visited him to negotiate for the secret ballot.

According to Mapesela, they visited Motanyane on Monday and they left the meeting hugely disappointed.
He said when they raised a point that former Deputy Speaker Teboho Lehloenya was ousted through a secret ballot, Motanyane said that was not true.
“He said we should bring the Hansard as nothing like that ever happened,” Mapesela said.
Mapesela said if Motanyane insists on an open vote, he will ask the High Court to intervene.

Motanyane will not stop us from voting secretly to remove Majoro from office, Mapesela said.
“Most people are tired of Majoro and they would want to remove him without being targeted as bad people by their parties or by Majoro himself,” Mapesela said.
“We propose the secret ballot because some cabinet ministers want to take part in ousting Majoro.”

“Those people are scared to vote publicly as they are Cabinet ministers and fear losing their jobs,” he said.
“The secret ballot will allow all the MPs to express their feelings without any threats from either political parties or the Prime Minister himself,” he said.
Mapesela said so far, 66 MPs who include some nine ministers, had pledged to vote for the motion to oust Majoro adding that most of them would be scared to vote publicly.
He also said they were aware that the government had approached Motanyane not to allow the secret ballot as they want to see those who will vote against them.

“If so, we will meet at the courts of law, he (Motanyane) will not save them,” he said.
He said Motanyane told them that he had already handed over the no-confidence motion to the business committee.
The number of ABC MPs in parliament has been whittled down significantly in recent months following a damaging split earlier this year.

Until early last year, the ABC had grown the number of its MPs from 48 following the 2017 election to 51 mostly through defections.
But those numbers have steadily come down in recent months, leaving the party with 35 MPs.
Nine left to join the party’s former deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, when he formed the Basotho Action Party (ABC).
Three have died while two have defected to the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) and the AD. Another MP is now a diplomat.

Nkheli Liphoto

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