‘Speaker erred on show cause let­ters’

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

FOR­MER Na­tional Assem­bly speaker Sephiri Motanyane says his suc­ces­sor, Ntl­hoi Mot­samai, erred in ask­ing 13 op­po­si­tion mem­bers of par­lia­ment (MPS) to “show cause” why they should not be ex­pelled from the au­gust house for al­leged ab­sen­teeism with­out her per­mis­sion.

Ms Mot­samai last Fri­day wrote let­ters to 13 MPS who in­clude the ex­iled op­po­si­tion bloc lead­ers, for­mer premier Thomas Thabane, Th­e­sele ’Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Re­formed Con­gress of Le­sotho (RCL) re­spec­tively.

The trio sought refuge in South Africa on 11, 13 and 26 May 2015 re­spec­tively, al­legedly af­ter be­ing alerted of a plot to kill them by Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) mem­bers — an ac­cu­sa­tion the army and gov­ern­ment have ve­he­mently de­nied.

Other MPS fac­ing ex­pul­sion in­clude the BNP’S deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo and Dr Nthabiseng Makoae and the ABC’S Sa­monyane Nt­sekele, Leshoboro Mohla­joa, Tšoeu Molise, Ma­joro Mo­hapi, Cha­lane Phori, Mokher­ane Tsat­sanyane, Mot­lohi Maliehe and Prince Maliehe.

How­ever, Ms Mot­samai has since made an un­der­tak­ing be­fore the High Court to sus­pend act­ing on the let­ters un­til a rul­ing is made on the MPS’ court chal­lenge.

In the let­ters, Ms Mot­samai states that by 9 De­cem­ber 2015, the leg­is­la­tors had reached the “thresh­old of the pro­hib­ited ab­sen­teeism” by be­ing ab­sent dur­ing a third of the to­tal ses­sions of the house in a year with­out her per­mis­sion.

The op­po­si­tion’s 55 MPS started boy­cotting the au­gust house on 23 June last year when it ad­journed, protest­ing al­leged lack of law and or­der which had re­sulted in their three lead­ers seek­ing refuge in South Africa the pre­vi­ous month.

In ad­di­tion to the safe re­turn of their lead­ers and all the other ex­iles, the MPS also de­manded the pros­e­cu­tion of LDF mem­bers who killed for­mer army com­man­der, Maa­parankoe Ma­hao. The for­mer army chief was fa­tally shot on 25 June 2015 by fel­low LDF mem­bers who had come to ar­rest him on sus­pi­cion he had planned to lead a mutiny and re­move the mil­i­tary com­mand.

The op­po­si­tion has queried the tim­ing of the move, say­ing it was ul­ti­mately meant to re­duce the num­ber of op­po­si­tion MPS in the event of a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion on the Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili-led gov­ern­ment.

Mr Motanyane this week told the Le­sotho Times Ms Mot­samai’s de­ci­sion was “ill-in­formed and did not hold wa­ter” since it was made almost a year af­ter the al­leged in­frac­tion was com­mit­ted.

“If there was mis­con­duct, then the MPS should have been rep­ri­manded there and then,” Mr Motanyane said.

“It just does not make sense; what she ought to have done was to ta­ble the is­sue in Par­lia­ment and the MPS would have been rep­ri­manded.

“She was not ad­vised well and she does not have the pow­ers to ex­pel any MP. She only has the pow­ers to sus­pend an MP for two days at the most.”

Mr Motanyane also crit­i­cised the de­ci­sion to ad­journ the Na­tional Assem­bly say­ing there should have been a mo­tion moved by the Leader of the House, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, which would been de­cided by vot­ing.

Ms Mot­samai in­def­i­nitely ad­journed the Na­tional Assem­bly on Tues­day.

na­tional assem­bly speaker ntl­hoi mot­samai.

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