Speaker summons parliament

Speaker summons parliament

MASERU – PARLIAMENT will be summoned for a special sitting in two weeks’ time to discuss the National Peace and Unity Bill 2021 that will grant amnesty to human rights violators.
Although parliament closed for a winter recess last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu has asked Speaker Sephiri Motanyane to recall the House for the special sitting.

Law Minister Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane distributed the controversial Bill in parliament last Thursday amid vicious attacks by families of individuals who were killed under controversial circumstances.
The Bill seeks to set up a National Peace and Unity Commission that will have powers to “grant amnesty where it is satisfied that the witness testified truthfully and in full”.

The Commission may also forgive gross human rights violators “where the nature and manner of carrying out the violation was not grossly inhumane”.
It may also pardon a witness who “has shown remorse and has undertaken not to commit the act again”.

Where the Commission has not granted amnesty, the case in the court of law against the witness shall resume with immediate effect.
The Bill will facilitate the granting of amnesty to people who make full disclosure of all relevant facts relating to gross human rights violations and political offences.

The Bill is as a result of a push by SADC envoy, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, that there should be a commission tasked with ensuring national healing and lasting peace after decades of murders and political upheavals in the country.

A person who is investigated or charged in the courts of law for gross human rights violations may apply to the Commission to testify in his defence.
The Commission may consider applications of people in custody.
If their application is accepted, their pending case may be halted by the court to await the outcome of the hearing at the Commission.
In determining whether to accept the application, the Commission shall decide whether the charged person’s act, omission or offence was politically motivated.

This means that the High Court may halt cases in which the former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, and other soldiers are facing should they apply to the Commission to testify.
If the Commission satisfies itself that their acts or omission or offences were politically motivated they would be granted amnesty pronto.
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leaders, Mothetjoa Metsing and his deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi, could also be off the hook.

Metsing is facing high treason charges together with Selibe Mochoboroane, former LCD secretary general who later defected to form the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), over the events of August 30, 2014.
Mokhosi is charged together with Lt Gen Kamoli after the army stormed police stations and the State House in what the then government said was an attempted coup.

The police’s Sub-Inspector Monaheng Ramahloko was gunned down at the police headquarters during the raid.
Lt Gen Kamoli’s nemesis, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, was also killed a year later.

Advocate Rakuoane said the Bill will be argued in parliament in two weeks’ time as parliament reopens for the special meeting to address the national reforms and close again.
The summoning of Parliament comes after Justice Moseneke complained to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro about the slow pace of the reforms.
According to Rakuoane, the National Reforms Authority (NRA) will have to provide SADC with a progress report at a summit in August.

The NRA chairman, Chief Pelele Letsoela, has since formed a task-team with the committee chairmen to help speed up the reforms process.
This after Justice Moseneke said SADC had become “increasingly concerned about the slow pace of the reforms”.
“If no demonstrable progress would have been made closer to the time of the meeting, the facilitation will be left with no option but to recommend on the organ and the summit to consider invoking clause 23 of the 38th SADC summit of heads of states and government held in Windhoek, Namibia, from 17 August 2018,” Moseneke said.

The clause states that the summits resolved not to entertain any further delays in the implementation of reforms and national dialogue, and called upon SADC member states to take necessary measures against those with intentions to delay or threaten to derail the reforms and national dialogue process.

Justice Moseneke said “our patience is beginning to wane because we think that the national interest and the future of Basotho are being sacrificed at the altar of political expediency”.

Nkheli Liphoto

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