BNP wants Molapo out

BNP wants Molapo out

MASERU – THE Basotho National Party (BNP) wants Joang Molapo, its former deputy leader, kicked out of parliament because he has been dismissed from the party.
The BNP says Molapo cannot keep his Proportional Representation (PR) seat because he is no longer a member of the party.
The BNP says Molapo was expelled in March after he allegedly defected to the Alliance of Democrats (AD).

Molapo has not publicly announced his defection but the BNP says it has evidence that he is no longer a member. The evidence, the party says, is contained in the minutes of a meeting held in Maputsoe constituency, through which Molapo got his PR seat.
The party claims those minutes show that Molapo has defected to the AD.
Apart from those minutes, Molapo has in the past suggested that he will vote with the AD in parliament.

Molapo has been estranged from the party since he lost the battle for the deputy leader’s position to Machesetsa Mofomobe two years ago.
At that time Molapo accused Mofomobe of using dirty tactics to win the election. He has not been actively involved in the BNP affairs since then.
Mofomobe has since replaced Thesele Maseribane, who is now ambassador to Italy, as party leader.

The bad blood between Mofomobe and Molapo appears to have escalated in recent weeks with the BNP aggressively trying to strip Molapo of his seat.
The party had since informed the Speaker of Parliament Sephiri Motanyane of its decision to reclaim Molapo’s seat.
“Kindly be advised that Honourable Joang Molapo is no longer a member of the Basotho National Party (BNP), following his dismissal from the party, with effect from 10-03-2021,” the party said in the letter Motanyane read to the House last Friday.

The party said while it accepts that letter, dismissal from a political party is not expressly listed as one of the grounds for the Member allocated a seat through proportional representation to vacate such a seat. We submit that such a literal interpretation would defeat the spirit and purpose of the said legal provision, said the party.
The BNP argues that the intention of Section 88(3) of the National Assembly Electoral Act is broadly that a member of a political party, under whose party list, was appointed to the House would vacate their seat if they cease to be members of the party.

It argues that the section provides that a member who resigns from their political party or crosses the floor shall vacate their proportional seat.
“That it would be an obscurity if a member who loses his/her political party membership on the grounds of dismissal would not vacate his/her seat in the National Assembly,” the party reasoned.
“On this basis, we submit that the proportional list of Honourable Joang Molapo has since become vacant and we invite the Honourable Speaker to fill the vacancy in terms of Section 189 (2) of the National Assembly Electoral Act.”

“Due to legal technicalities raised in this regard, please note that we will share this correspondence to the Honourable Attorney General.”
The party however faces some legal hurdles in its bid to wrestle the seat from Molapo. In a letter, Motanyane referred the party to section 69 (1) (c) of the constitution and section (125) (b) of the National Assembly Electoral Act which he says gives the High Court jurisdiction to determine if a parliamentary seat has become vacant.
He said those sections meant that he doesn’t have jurisdiction over the matter.

The BNP however argued in the letter that “such a literal interpretation would defeat the spirit and purpose of the said legal provision”.
The BNP spokeswoman ’Masetota Leshota told thepost that Molapo refused to attend a disciplinary hearing when the party called him for speaking ill of it.
She said instead of appearing before the disciplinary committee Molapo wrote back saying he would not come to that meeting.
“He was not elected by the Maputsoe community to be in parliament but by the BNP,” Leshota said.

She said unlike an MP who won a constituency, Molapo must account directly to the party that put him there.
Leshota said Molapo “pronounced himself that he is no more behind the BNP but still enjoys the BNP benefits of being in the National Assembly”.
She also said Molapo was the one who wrote the dismissal letter to the former secretary general, Lesojane Leuta, when there was a similar dispute.
At the time Molapo was the deputy leader.
“We have accepted that he does not like our party anymore therefore he should abandon our benefits as well.”

She said the party is poised to go to court to drag Molapo out of parliament and replace him with a deserving loyal member.
She said they have minutes where Molapo met the Maputsoe committee to ask them to leave the BNP with him.
Molapo, who responded to thepost’s questions from Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, said he “only heard rumours that the BNP has written to the National Assembly” requesting that he should be kicked out.
“I was insulted badly by some members of the party and I reported to the NEC to help but all in vain,” Molapo said.

He said despite his efforts to engage the NEC to solve the matter “no one showed any interest”.
“What do they want from me?” he said.
He said for a long time he decided to step back from the party issues or spotlight to give a chance to those who are controlling it.
“I still like the BNP but I cannot stay where people are attacked personally,” he said.

“I once announced that I will never represent the BNP in elections again,” he said.
He also complained that “there are a lot of lies by some members who want to tarnish my name”.
“Now I will only work in parliament because that is where I am deployed by the Maputsoe people.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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