ABC MPS on the warpath

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

ALL Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leg­is­la­tors have given Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili an ul­ti­ma­tum to ei­ther open par­lia­ment on 4 May or face mass ac­tion.

The Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) told a press brief­ing in Maseru on Mon­day this week that they would not budge on their de­mands as the con­tin­ued clo­sure of the leg­is­la­ture amounted to abuse of power and also de­nied the public their right to par­tic­i­pate in gov­er­nance through the au­gust house.

Dr Mo­sisili formed a seven-party coali­tion gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions which pro­duced a hung par­lia­ment. How­ever, de­spite MPS and cabi­net be­ing sworn-in last month, the 9th Par­lia­ment re­mains ad­journed, in­fu­ri­at­ing the MPS from the coun­try’s main op­po­si­tion party who ar­gue democ­racy has been com­prised since the polls.

The pre­vi­ous tri­par­tite gov­ern­ment, which came to power in June 2012, failed to last its five-year term due to a vi­cious power-strug­gle be­tween ABC leader and then Prime Min­is­ter, Thomas Tha­bane and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) leader, Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing. That gov­ern­ment also in­cluded the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party.

How­ever, the 11 ABC MPS told Mon­day’s me­dia brief­ing the new gov­ern­ment com­pris­ing Dr Mo­sisili’s Demo­cratic Congress (DC), LCD, Popular Front for Democ­racy (PFD), Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (LPC), Ba­sotho Congress Party (BCP), Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party (MFP) and Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party (NIP), was fail­ing the na­tion by not open­ing the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

The MPS also de­manded when it opens next week, the House should not be closed for its tra­di­tional win­ter break as there were “per­ti­nent is­sues that need ur­gent at­ten­tion”.

The leg­is­la­tors also want Dr Mo­sisili to en­sure “ev­ery­one sus­pected of com­mit­ting crime is not part of gov­ern­ment” and that such in­di­vid­u­als are brought be­fore the courts of law “for the sake of peace, sta­bil­ity and the rule of law in Le­sotho”.

“If th­ese de­mands, which in­clude the open­ing of the 9th Par­lia­ment of Le­sotho and pros­e­cut­ing sus­pected crim­i­nals are not ful­filled by 4 May 2015 dead­line, we will take the fol­low­ing steps to put pres­sure on gov­ern­ment:

Lobby dif­fer­ent sec­tions of so­ci­ety and the busi­ness com­mu­nity to or­gan­ise stay­aways un­til our de­mands have been ful­filled.

Call for Le­sotho’s devel­op­ment part­ners and em­bassies to with­hold all aid as sanc­tions to put pres­sure on Mo­sisili’s gov­ern­ment to ac­cede to our de­mands.

Ap­proach SADC (South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity), AU (African Union), United Na­tions (UN), and Com­mon­wealth to put pres­sure on gov­ern­ment to ad­here to the rule of law and ob­serve demo­cratic prin­ci­ples,” said Koro-koro MP, Mote­bang Koma.

On his part, Maseru Con­stituency leg­is­la­tor, Le­sego Mak­gothi, said fol­low­ing the 10 March swear­ing-in cer­e­mony of MPS at a spe­cial meet­ing of the Na­tional As­sem­bly, the ex­pec­ta­tion had been that the House would “soon” open.

“How­ever, we have a gov­ern­ment that con­tin­ues to act as if it’s busi­ness as usual de­spite the fact that there has not been any Speech from the Throne by His Majesty, which out­lines what this regime’s poli­cies are.

“What is shock­ing is that th­ese very same peo­ple who are fail­ing to open par­lia­ment were mak­ing so much noise that our leader Ntate Tha­bane, who was then the Prime Min­is­ter, had in­def­i­nitely suspended par­lia­ment in June last. So what is stop­ping Ntate Mo­sisili from open­ing par­lia­ment now?

“Which laws sup­port this con­tin­ued clo­sure of the House? Our leader had used his con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers on pro­ro­ga­tion, so what law is Ntate Mo­sisili us­ing to keep it shut?” asked Mr Mak­gothi.

Mr Mak­gothi said apart from the pro­longed clo­sure of par­lia­ment, it was still not clear what the new gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies were.

He con­tin­ued: “An­other ma­jor task of par­lia­ment is to al­lo­cate the na­tional bud­get to gov­ern­ment min­istries. How­ever, the fi­nan­cial year has ended but there is no bud­get yet, which means gov­ern­ment min­istries are not func­tion­ing prop­erly.

“This lack of bud­get has ad­versely af­fected the min­istries to the ex­tent that civil ser­vants are not be­ing paid on time.

“Un­til when should we con­tinue to be on­look­ers when the sit­u­a­tion is not get­ting any bet­ter?”

Mr Mak­gothi also ex­pressed “shock” that Dr Mo­sisili had al­lowed in­di­vid­u­als fac­ing crim­i­nal charges be­fore the courts, to be ap­pointed MPS and min­is­ters.

“Among those sus­pected of com­mit­ting crimes is the leader of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy, who is also the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing and En­ergy Min­is­ter Se­libe Mo­choboroane. The charges against them in­clude cor­rup­tion and dis­re­spect­ing King Let­sie III.

“We are also shocked to see that the gov- ern­ment is ig­nor­ing an at­tempted coup case against Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli. The gov­ern­ment is also not pur­su­ing a case in which eight mem­bers of the Le­sotho De­fence Force are sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in the bomb­ings of three Maseru homes on 27 Jan­uary 2014. The same gov­ern­ment is also si­lent on the shoot­ing of two young Ba­sotho near the home of Lt Gen Kamoli last year. We are shocked that in their state­ments, both Ntate Mo­sisili and the Min­is­ter of De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity, Tšeliso Mokhosi, are con­sid­er­ing re­in­stat­ing Lt Gen Kamoli amid his legal re­moval from of­fice by Dr Tha­bane in Au­gust last year. We, as ABC MPS, con­sider the re­in­state­ment of Lt Gen Kamoli to be dis­re­spect­ful to the na­tion and com­plete dis­re­gard of the rule of law,” said Mr Mak­gothi.

Qeme con­stituency MP, Nkaku Kabi, also spoke about Lt Gen Kamoli’s an­nounced re­in­state­ment, call­ing it “ab­surd and shock­ing”.

“As far as we are aware, the LDF com­man­der is Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao and we view his re­moval as po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated ,” said Mr Kabi.

“We ad­vise Ntate Mo­sisili to re­in­state Lt Gen Ma­hao as LDF com­man­der with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. Again, this coali­tion gov­ern­ment should ex­plain why Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana is not at work but on leave. Th­ese de­ci­sions seem to be noth­ing but per­se­cu­tion of th­ese two of­fi­cials, with the aim of achiev­ing cer­tain po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives,” said Mr Kabi.

ABC leg­is­la­tors is­sue the ul­ti­ma­tum at a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day.

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