Uproar over Parly closure

Uproar over Parly closure

MASERU – THE indefinite closure of parliament last Thursday triggered uproar from opposition MPs, with some alleging the move was meant to protect under fire Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
Parliament shut down before dealing with several motions, including two that directly targeted Thabane.

The Democratic Congress (DC)’s Senqu MP, Likeleli Tampane, argued that three important motions on the table of the Speaker Sephiri Motanyane are yet to be dealt with.
The motions include one on a secret ballot that was filed by Mosalemane MP Tsoinyane Rapapa a few months ago.

Another motion was aimed at reducing the powers of the Prime Minister to unilaterally decide on elections. The motion was filed by Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane.
The third was a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister which was filed by Koro-Koro MP, Motebang Koma from Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party. The DC’s Qalabane MP, Motlalentoa Letsosa, seconded the motion.

Tampane said what has triggered “serious concern” among opposition MPs is the fact that the motions are gathering dust despite their importance.
“We fail to understand why parliament has closed sine die and yet there are motions that have to be worked on,” Tampane said.
Tampane argued that the closure of parliament happened at a time when the country is grappling with a high rate of crime.

“Crime has increased on the side of the government where we see ministers misusing funds by taking international trips from time to time so that they can get per diems,” she said.
Tampane said the number of killings has increased and parliament should have been allowed to deal with scourge.

Thabane was ignoring the hunger pervading the country, she said, adding that the Prime Minister should resign before he is forced out.
Movement for Economic Change (MEC) deputy leader, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena, said they are unhappy about the leader of the House, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s decision to close parliament without any indication on when it would reopen.

She questioned the decision when parliament has to deal with important issues such as Thabane’s powers and tenure as well as the issue of wool and mohair regulations, which are yet to be concluded.
“We are happy that farmers have been given three months to go and sell their mohair at any place of their choice but we are not satisfied because they have only been given three months. We are not sure what will happen when those three months expire before parliament reopens,” Tšita-Mosena said.
She said the issue of the regulations was behind the fights in parliament a fortnight ago.

“It was because we wanted the wool and mohair regulations to pass and Basotho to be allowed to go and sell their wool wherever they want,” she said.
Alliance for Democrats (AD)’s MP, Thuso Litjobo, argued that the shutdown was not a unilateral government decision, but had been supported by some opposition MPs.
“As 120 MPs we have all agreed that parliament should be closed,” he said.
Litjobo said if the opposition side did not want parliament to be closed, they should have voted against that motion because they have more numbers than the ruling party in parliament.

He argued that if the opposition MPs wanted to block that motion, they could have done so without any obstruction.
Litjobo said the Speaker has since dismissed the motions that the opposition is lamenting about.
“There are no other motions left. The Speaker has ruled on those motions,” Litjobo said. “Maybe they can start afresh with those motions,” he said.

The AD is the second strongest party after the ABC in the coalition government of four parties that include the Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

Thooe Ramolibeli

 

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