MPs fume over Parliament closure

MPs fume over Parliament closure

MASERU – THERE were howls of protest from opposition MPS yesterday when Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki moved a motion to indefinitely adjourn parliament. The MPs heckled Moleleki, leader of the House, as he tried to give reasons for the adjournment barely a week after it reopened from the summer break.

Moleleki, speaking amid screams from the opposition and cheers from the ruling side, said the MPs will be told when to attend the budget speech.
“As we know there are three main tasks of the parliament, to allocate money to the government, to make the follow-up on how the money is being used and to make the laws,” Moleleki said as his words were drowned by noise in the House. Parliament resumed on January 17.

Moleleki said the opening was just meant for corrections and improvement of certain laws.
“So now we are done with the law. We will soon come back for the budget speech. Let’s be ready to come back again,” he said.

Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, then asked Moleleki why he was not saying when parliament will reopen.
Rakuoane said it was unfair that Moleleki kept saying it would open very soon without being specific.

Somewhat sarcastically Moleleki responded by saying the Minister of Finance Dr Moeketsi Majoro was “preparing a budget speech that will be presented in a way that has never been presented before, since independence till now”.
“So, this is the reason the minister is not sure about the date for the reopening of the parliament.”

The opposition’s chief whip, Qalabane MP Motlalentoa Letsosa, later told thepost that the decision to adjourn parliament was “totally ridiculous”.
Letsosa said he was particularly worried that the government was not explaining why they were closing parliament a week after it resumed.
It baffles me, he said, why the government is so keen to close parliament.

“We have just opened after the summer holidays and we are now closing again for no good reason,” Letsosa said. “This is utter nonsense”.
“We had lots of questions we wanted to ask the Prime Minister but we were not given that opportunity.”

“Since last year we have been lining up to ask the Prime Minister questions and we have always been postponed,” he said.
“Now we were expecting that we would be given that chance after the reopening of parliament but look what is happening.”
“Our hands are full. We have a lot to do but it seems the government does not care.”
“We do not see the reason for us to be here,” Letsosa said.

Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) spokesperson Teboho Sekata said he wonders why the government seemed to be in a hurry to adjourn parliament.

Sekata said the government is behaving “as if it is running away from something”.
“What have they seen that we have not seen?” Sekata quipped.

Sekata, a fresher in parliament, said he is disappointed that the government had decided to adjourn parliament.
“But still I can understand that their aim was to deal with the Reforms Bill and when they realised that they have offended a lot of people who felt that they had not been consulted, the government saw that it had nothing more to do.”

“They have run out of ideas and all they have is to adjourn parliament,” he said.
Sekata said one of the things that the opposition wanted parliament to discuss at length is the way the government is treating wool and mohair farmers.

“We wanted to discuss that because the government’s action of freezing BKB account has dealt a blow to the poor farmers,” Sekata said.
“Instead of promoting business, which would be beneficial to everybody irrespective of their political inclination, the government politicised this BKB issue.”

“The BKB issue is one of the important things we wanted discussed in parliament but they have decided to close the parliament. They do not know their work,” he said. The High Court has since issued a court order to reopen BKB’s accounts.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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