Exiled trio no longer MPs, says PM

Exiled trio no longer MPs, says PM

Staff Reporter

THREE opposition leaders who fled Lesotho last year no longer qualify to remain as MPs, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has said.

Mosisili made the remarks after addressing Parliament on the government’s position on the SADC Commission’s recommendations on Monday.

Earlier on the opposition MPs had walked out of Parliament after Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai refused to grant them a chance to speak before Mosisili could deliver his speech.

Mosisili said Parliament’s standing orders will have to be applied on the three leaders because “they have been away for too long and therefore no longer qualify to be members of the House”.

“When they come back, this House will have to see to that. The law will have to work on them,” Mosisili said.

Former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele Maseribane and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) leader Keketso Rantso fled the country in May last year claiming their lives were in danger.

The three have not been able to attend parliamentary sessions since last year.

Section 60 of the Constitution, Amendment No. 7 of 1997 says a “senator (other than a Principal Chief) or a member of the National Assembly shall vacate office if, in any one year and without the written permission of the President of the Senate or, as the case may be, the Speaker of the National Assembly he is absent from one-third of the total number of sittings of the House of which he is a member”.

TOM THABANEThe three leaders have in the past said they will not come back to Lesotho as long as Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is still in charge of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

Earlier this year, Thabane told thepost that he will not come back home even if he is provided with protection from the police “because Kamoli is not afraid of the police as was evidenced by the attack on the police headquarters by his soldiers in 2014”.

However, Mosisili said it is not true that Thabane and ’Maseribane ran away from Kamoli because when they fled Kamoli had not been reappointed army commander.

Mosisili said the three were benefiting politically in self-exile because they have “more voice when they are out of the country than when they are in the country”.

He said the three leaders are seeking sympathy from the international community which gives them political latitude abroad and paints a bad image of the government.

The ABC secretary general, Samonyane Ntsekele, said it is well known “both in parliament and outside parliament why our leaders skipped the country”.

THSESELE MASERIBANE“What the Prime Minister is saying misleads the people because my leader wrote the Speaker and told her why it is difficult for him to attend parliamentary sessions,” Ntsekele said.

“Who is Mosisili to say they will no longer be members of the House? They are still members and it is our expectation that they will still be members upon their return.”

“They did not just disappear into thin air or just decide not to attend parliament. They have been forced to flee and the Speaker was written and she understands that,” he said.

Ntsekele also said Mosisili is misleading the nation by saying the leaders did not run away from Kamoli because at the time when they fled “Kamoli was illegally in command of the defence force while the legally appointed commander was not”.

“The Prime Minister should stop making these unfortunate statements,” he said.

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