Mo­lapo re­mains de­fi­ant over parly

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

Ba­sotho Na­tional Party ( BNP) deputy leader, Joang Mo­lapo, says op­po­si­tion Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) are not go­ing to be in the leg­is­la­ture when it re­con­venes to­mor­row af­ter it ad­journed in­def­i­nitely on 1 July this year.

Chief Mo­lapo says the 55 MPS from the BNP, all Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho(rcl) would con­tinue their par­lia­ment boy­cott which started on 23 June un­til their lead­ers re­turn safely from ex­ile and army com­man­der Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral Tlali Kamoli is fired.

Former prime min­is­ter and ABC leader thomas tha­bane, his BNP and RCL coun­ter­parts th­e­sele ‘ Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo re­spec­tively, fled to South Africa in May this year claim­ing some mem­bers of the Le­sotho Defence Force (LDF) led by Lt-gen Kamoli, were out to kill them.

Ef­forts by the south­ern african De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity ( sadc) and Chris­tian Coun­cil of Le­sotho (CCL) to bro­ker their safe re­turn have not been suc­cess­ful, and Chief Mo­lapo says the MPS’ protest would con­tinue un­til their de­mands are met.

Chief Mo­lapo also says other Ba­sotho ex­iles in South Africa, who fled the coun­try early this year cit­ing the same LDF fears, should be al­lowed to re­turn home un­con­di­tion­ally and their safety guar­an­teed and only then would the MPS con­sider re­turn­ing to par­lia­ment.

The ABC has 46 MPS in the 120 leg­is­la­ture, while the BNP and RCL have seven and two seats, re­spec­tively.

“as the BNP, we are cer­tainly not go­ing back to par­lia­ment when it re­con­venes on Fri­day. But if there are MPS from other par­ties who want to go, by all means they are free to do so. How­ever, I am con­fi­dent those from the op­po­si­tion will not be go­ing back un­til our con­cerns are ad­dressed.

“What prompted our boy­cott were se­cu­rity is­sues fac­ing our coun­try and if the sit­u­a­tion does not change, we can­not go back to par­lia­ment. Gov­ern­ment is feel­ing the pres­sure hence th­ese des­per­ate threats that there would be by-elec­tions in the 41 con­stituen­cies which were won by op­po­si­tion can­di­dates in Fe­bru­ary’s elec­tions,” said Chief Mo­lapo this week.

But ac­cord­ing to Chief Mo­lapo, by-elec­tions would only re­sult in gov­ern­ment’s em­bar­rass­ment. the prime min­is­ter’s Po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor, Fako Likoti, warned last week that op­po­si­tion’s con­tin­ued boy­cott of par­lia­ment would re­sult in by-elec­tions in their con­stituen­cies.

“If we were to lose our seats, as has been threat­ened by the gov­ern­ment, we are go­ing to re­gain them in the re­sul­tant by-elec­tion be­cause the rul­ing par­ties (Demo­cratic Congress (DC), Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy, Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party, Ba­sotho Congress Party, Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party, Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress and Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy) have lost sup­port since the (28 Fe­bru­ary 2015) elec­tions.

“this se­cu­rity is­sue has cost the gov­ern­ing par­ties a lot of cred­i­bil­ity and sup­port, and if we were to go for an elec­tion to­day, they would have a shock of their lives. so ba­si­cally, call­ing for by-elec­tions would be a dan­ger­ous gam­ble,” said Chief Mo­lapo.

Prime Min­is­ter and DC leader Pakalitha Mo­sisili and his coali­tion part­ners were “des­per­ate” for op­po­si­tion MPS to re­turn to par­lia­ment to en­able their gov­ern­ment to func­tion, Chief Mo­lapo added.

“the gov­ern­ment is des­per­ate, as we speak, be­cause we have put so much pres­sure on it through this boy­cott. What we want is for Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Metsing, as the Leader of the house, to go to par­lia­ment and apol­o­gise to us, as MPS, over his state­ment fol­low­ing the killing of Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao (on 25 June this year by his mil­i­tary col­leagues. Lt-gen Ma­hao was shot al­legedly as he re­sisted ar­rest for mutiny).

“We also want him to take our ques­tions and gen­uinely an­swer them be­fore par­lia­ment. se­condly, Kamoli should step down from the LDF com­mand and only then, can we say we have an ac­count­able gov­ern­ment,” noted Chief Mo­lapo.

the former home af­fairs min­is­ter said LtGen Kamoli “is the only liability to gov­ern­ment”.

the sadc Com­mis­sion of In­quiry led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi heard damn­ing ev­i­dence against sev­eral LDF of­fi­cers and LtGen Kamoli dur­ing its 31 Au­gust-21 Oc­to­ber sit­ting as it probed Lt-gen Ma­hao’s mur­der. the com­mis­sion is cur­rently com­pil­ing its re­port in Bloem­fontein, south africa.

“What does the gov­ern­ment think is go­ing to come out of the Phumaphi Com­mis­sion? this gov­ern­ment should do the right thing and tell Kamoli to go. Our lead­ers would def­i­nitely re­turn home once he steps down, and we have al­ways main­tained this.”

Chief Mo­lapo added: “Why are they re­fus­ing to dif­fuse the sit­u­a­tion? Le­sotho would be sta­ble as we speak, had they lis­tened to our con­cerns. th­ese congress par­ties are fail­ing to see the light and do what is right just be­cause we are the ones de­mand­ing it.

“We don’t un­der­stand why Kamoli is be­ing lauded as their hero when he has not been ac­count­able for in­ci­dents that took place un­der his watch. Com­mon sense should pre­vail.”

ac­cord­ing to Chief Mo­lapo, the op­po­si­tion’s de­mands for ac­count­abil­ity have gov­ern­ment in a quandary as they have the sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional and donor com­mu­nity.

“this gov­ern­ment would gain it­self so many friends by sim­ply re­mov­ing Kamoli. We know that even the amer­i­cans did not mince their words when they de­manded ac­count­abil­ity over those tragic in­ci­dents of 30 Au­gust 2014 when the army in­vaded three po­lice sta­tions in Maseru, re­sult­ing in the death of one po­lice of­fi­cer. And now the sit­u­a­tion has been com­pounded by the killing of Lt-gen Ma­hao.

“all we ap­peal for is to take Le­sotho for­ward. We can­not let those re­spon­si­ble for this in­sta­bil­ity to go scot-free.”

For his part, RCL deputy leader, Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko said all stake­hold­ers from the op­po­si­tion would be meet­ing to­day to make their fi­nal de­ci­sion on par­lia­ment.

how­ever, Dr Phooko said it was “in­con­ceiv­able” that the MPS could de­cide to end their boy­cott while their lead­ers, op­po­si­tion party sup­port­ers and some LDF mem­bers are ex­iled in south africa.

“What would those MPS gain from at­tend­ing par­lia­ment when is­sues that prompted the boy­cott have not been ad­dressed by the gov­ern­ment?” said Dr Phooko.

Mean­while, ABC leg­is­la­tors were set to meet yes­ter­day to come up with their fi­nal de­ci­sion on the par­lia­ment is­sue.

The gov­ern­ment is des­per­ate, as we speak, be­cause we have put so much pres­sure on it through this boy­cott. What we want is for Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Metsing, as the Leader of the House, to go to par­lia­ment and apol­o­gise to us, as MPS, over his state­ment fol­low­ing the killing of Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao

File pic­ture: Op­po­si­tion MPS speak to the me­dia at the BNP Cen­tre af­ter their de­ci­sion to boy­cott par­lia­ment.

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