ABC di­vided over parly y

Main op­po­si­tion party lead­er­ship meets lawyers to­day to seek ad­vice on way for­ward

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

The main op­po­si­tion All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) is seek­ing le­gal ad­vice on whether or not its 46 leg­is­la­tors should at­tend par­lia­ment when it re­con­venes to­mor­row.

Ac­cord­ing to ABC sec­re­tary gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele, the party’s Na­tional ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) would be meet­ing lawyers this morn­ing on the way for­ward be­fore en­gag­ing the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) later in the day.

Mr Nt­sekele, who is also the Tsikoane Con­stituency MP, said the de­ci­sion to seek le­gal coun­sel came af­ter the MPS could not agree on the way for­ward, and also to en­sure their next course of ac­tion is in the best in­ter­est of the na­tion.

ABC MPS, and their op­po­si­tion part­ners from the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL), walked out of par­lia­ment on 23 June this year protest­ing the con­tin­ued ex­ile of their lead­ers and also de­mand­ing the dis­missal of Le­sotho Defence Force (LDF) com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Af­ter par­lia­ment ad­journed in­def­i­nitely on 1 July, the MPS vowed to con­tinue the boy­cott un­til their lead­ers, party sup­port­ers and mem­bers of the Le­sotho Defence Force (LDF) also ex­iled in South Africa, re­turn safely and un­con­di­tion­ally.

Former Prime Min­is­ter and ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane, his BNP and RCL coun­ter­parts Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo re­spec­tively, fled for South Africa in May this year af­ter al­leg­ing some LDF mem­bers, led by Lt-gen Kamoli, were out to kill them.

how­ever, they re­main in South Africa and with par­lia­ment set to re­open to­mor­row, the MPS are di­vided on whether or not to re­turn to the au­gust house while their de­mands have not been met by gov­ern­ment.

Mean­while, the MPS were also de­mand­ing an­swers over the killing of former LDF com­man­der Lt-gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao by the LDF on 25 June this year near his Mokema farm. Lt-gen Ma­hao was gunned down al­legedly as he re­sisted ar­rest for mutiny.

But ac­cord­ing to Mr Nt­sekele, the ABC had de­cided to con­sult its lawyers over the par­lia­ment is­sue to be guided ac­cord­ingly.

“This came af­ter the MPS were threat­ened with dis­missal should they miss one-third of the house’s sit­tings as out­lined by the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion.

“The party needs to be guided ac­cord­ingly as the de­ci­sion to boy­cott par­lia­ment was in­formed by spe­cific rea­sons, so end­ing the protest should also be in­formed by con­crete rea­sons.

“We need to make de­ci­sions based on clear is­sues. This is why we are sup­posed to be hav­ing th­ese le­gal coun­sel as our ac­tion there­after is go­ing to af­fect the whole na­tion,” said Mr Nt­sekele last night.

“how­ever, I can also say in the in­terim, it is highly pos­si­ble that we are not go­ing to par­lia­ment as there are no rea­sons why we should end the boy­cott be­cause our lead­ers are still out­side the coun­try and our de­mands have also not been met,” Mr Nt­sekele said,

“Any­way, the fi­nal de­ci­sion is go­ing to be made to­mor­row.”

The BNP, in con­trast, has al­ready an­nounced its MPS would not be go­ing to par­lia­ment, while the RCL is only go­ing to make its po­si­tion known to­day.

The BNP has seven MPS while the RCL has two. The seven par­ties in gov­ern­ment have 65 MPS, and can con­duct par­lia­men­tary busi­ness with­out the op­po­si­tion leg­is­la­tors for as long as a min­i­mum of 30 of them are present, which is the min­i­mum num­ber re­quired for a sit­ting to take place in line with the con­sti­tu­tion.

We need to make de­ci­sions based on clear is­sues. This is why we are sup­posed to be hav­ing th­ese le­gal coun­sel as our ac­tion there­after is go­ing to af­fect the whole na­tion

ABC Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele

ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane

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