Prime Minister’s wings clipped

Prime Minister’s wings clipped

MASERU-THE Senate on Tuesday finally clipped Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s powers to rush to the King asking him to dissolve Parliament every time he loses a vote-of-no-confidence.

At least 24 out of the 33 senators voted for the amendment, with five abstaining while two senators opposed the vote. One senator was absent during the vote.
The amendment will now be taken to King Letsie III for royal assent.
The ninth amendment to the Constitution effectively means the Prime Minister will be replaced in Parliament when he loses a no-confidence motion without subjecting the country to fresh elections.
The amendment passed in the lower House of Parliament, the National Assembly, without opposition earlier this year.

The amendment to the constitution came to Parliament by way of a private member’s Bill and was brought by Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane who leads the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) party.
This was the first private member’s Bill in Lesotho’s parliament since independence 54 years ago.

The Principal Chief of Kueneng, Peete Lesaoana Peete, who backed the Bill, said politicians should be patriotic and stop being selfish.
Chief Peete said politicians should respect the people who voted them into power.

He said politicians should be serious while handling issues of the country.
“We saw Parliament losing its image due to the hackling that always (takes place) there,” Chief Peete said.
The amendment came to parliament amid signs that the country could go to a fourth election in just seven years as Prime Minister Thomas Thabane faced a possible defeat in the coming no-confidence vote.

Thabane’s own All Basotho Convention (ABC) party last month agreed on a new coalition government with the Democratic Congress (DC) and two other smaller parties, the Reformed Congress of Lesotho and the Basotho National Party.

Finance Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro is being tipped to take over as Prime Minister when Thabane steps down.
Pleading with the senators to pass the amendment, Advocate Rakuoane said it was not targeting Thabane as a person since he had already announced that he will retire soon.

The amendment has also changed how a sitting Prime Minister can prorogue Parliament.
Unlike now when he can advise the King to prorogue parliament for up to a year without the approval of the majority of MPs, the amendment requires a two-thirds majority for prorogation to be acceptable.
Also, the prorogation will now last for only two months once it has been approved by parliament.

“In other countries there is a Prorogation Act,” Advocate Rakuoane said.
“We need it too,” he said.
The Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Chief Khoabane Theko, said giving a Prime Minister too much power was a recipe for disaster.
“The 1993 constitution ruined Lesotho’s democracy by being bossy and giving one person too much unnecessary power,” Chief Theko said.
The Principal Chief of Matsieng, Chief Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, said they should not forget that coalition governments can cause trouble because they are shaky.

Chief Seeiso called for a constitutional provision for coalition governments.
He said the constitution really needs to be reviewed so that the country can be stable.
He said snap elections are very costly.

Nkheli Liphoto

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