Parly speaker re­jects Mets­ing’s pleas

. . . as LCD leader pushes for re­ver­sal of se­nior ap­point­ments

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

NA­TIONAL Assem­bly Speaker Sephiri Motanyane has re­jected former deputy pre­mier Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing’s re­quest for par­lia­ment to urge Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane to re­verse three se­nior ap­point­ments.

Mr Mets­ing wanted the au­gust house to call for the re­ver­sal of the re­cent ap­point­ments of Act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Holomo Moli­beli and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vices (NSS) Direc­tor-gen­eral Pheello Ralenkoane.

Mr Mets­ing also called for the re­ver­sal of last week’s reap­point­ment of Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito as Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent, ar­gu­ing that trio’s se­lec­tion con­tra­vened Le­sotho’s con­sti­tu­tion.

The Le­sotho Congress of Democ­racy (LCD) leader had made the re­quest in a let­ter to Mr Motanyane ahead of Mon­day’s sit­ting in the au­gust house. The Na­tional Assem­bly has since ad­journed sine die (for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod).

Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli’s ap­point­ment came in the wake of an in­vol­un­tary 90-day leave for Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa by Dr Tha­bane in June this year.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa is cur­rently ne­go­ti­at­ing exit terms with the gov­ern­ment, with Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli ex­pected to re­place the top cop on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

Mr Ralenkoane was ap­pointed to the helm of the NSS last month to re­place Colonel Tumo Lekhooa who was sent back to his old job as Direc­tor of Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence at the Le­sotho De­fence Force.

Mr Ralenkoane was re­called af- ter serv­ing in the NSS for al­most 33 years be­fore retiring in Oc­to­ber 2015.

For his part, Jus­tice Mos­ito was reap­pointed as Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent more than eight months af­ter re­sign­ing from the post.

He re­signed on 13 De­cem­ber 2016 af­ter ex­haust­ing all le­gal means to be re­in­stated in light of a 12 Fe­bru­ary 2016 sus­pen­sion meant to pave the way for im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings against him.

Jus­tice Mos­ito ac­cused then pre­mier Pakalitha Mo­sisili and At­tor­ney-gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe of em­bark­ing on a con­certed cam­paign to hound him out of of­fice in set­ting up the tri­bunal.

The tri­bunal was com­prised of chair­per­son Jus­tice Fred­erik Daniel Ja­cobus Brand, Jus­tice Noel Vic­tor Hurt, and Jus­tice John God­frey Fox­croft, all from South Africa. The tri­bunal com­pleted its pro­ceed­ings on 20 Oc­to­ber 2016 and later on sub­mit­ted its re­port to King Let­sie III.

De­spite Jus­tice Mos­ito’s res­ig­na­tion, the Dr Mo­sisili-led seven-party regime went on to dis­miss Jus­tice Mos­ito in a 23 De­cem­ber 2016 gov­ern­ment gazette.

Since as­sum­ing power af­ter the 3 June 2017 elec­tions, the Dr Tha­bane-led four-party gov­ern­ing coali­tion has sought to con­sol­i­date its hold on the levers of power.

Dr Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, the Al­liance of Democrats, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho cob­bled to­gether the 63 seats they won in the elec­tions to form gov­ern­ment.

Apart from those three ap­point­ments, the new ad­min­is­tra­tion has also fired Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Le­bo­hang Ramohlanka and ap­pointed former po­lice com­mis­sioner, Khothatso Tšooana, as Po­lice and Pub­lic Safety min­istry prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary.

In the let­ter, which was read by Mr Motanyane, Mr Mets­ing ar­gued that the three ap­point­ments flouted tenets of the con­sti­tu­tion.

Mr Mets­ing, who is also the Ma­hobong #9 con­stituency leg­is­la­tor, ar­gued that Jus­tice Mos­ito had been con­victed of fail­ing to pay in­come tax be­tween 1996 and 2014 by the three-mem­ber im­peach­ment tri­bunal.

How­ever, Jus­tice Mos­ito has in­sisted that his 13 De­cem­ber 2016 res­ig­na­tion ren­dered the im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings aca­demic.

Mr Mets­ing also queried Mr Ralenkoane’s ap­point­ment cit­ing the lat­ter’s un­suc­cess­ful run for a par­lia­men­tary seat in the 3 June 2017 elec­tions rep­re­sent­ing the BNP in the Kolo con­stituency. Mr Ralenkoane lost to a Demo­cratic Congress can­di­date.

“I would like to urge the hon­ourable house to call for the can­cel­la­tion of the ap­point­ments of th­ese se­nior civil ser­vants which were ef­fected against the con­sti­tu­tion of Le­sotho,” Mr Mets­ing, who was deputy pre­mier in the seven-party gov­ern­ment, said.

“Th­ese are the Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent, who has been con­victed by a tri­bunal, the ap­point­ment of the direc­tor-gen­eral of the NSS, who con­tested in the gen­eral elec­tions un­der the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party flag and the ap­point­ment of the Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, as they all seem to be de­fy­ing the au­ton­omy of the ju­di­ciary, as well as drag­ging the se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions into pol­i­tics.”

In re­sponse, Mr Motanyane re­fused to en­ter­tain the mat­ter, say­ing: “There are other chan­nels that can be fol­lowed to chal­lenge such ap­point­ments with­out bring­ing them be­fore par­lia­ment.”

Mean­while, in the same let­ter, Mr Mets­ing also called for a de­bate on al­leged cases of po­lice bru­tal­ity, say­ing Dr Tha­bane had en­cour­aged the po­lice to as­sault sus­pects when no one was look­ing.

Dr Tha­bane’s Press At­taché, Thabo Thakalekoala, has since rub­bished the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing the pre­mier’s re­marks had been mis­con­strued. Mr Thakalekoala said Dr Tha­bane had urged the po­lice to be more vig­or­ous in their law-en­force­ment du­ties to re­store law and or­der in Le­sotho.

“In the past two weeks, two re­ported deaths were al­legedly caused by po­lice bru­tal­ity in Koro-koro and Se­mena. The larger pop­u­lace be­lieves they were fu­elled by the ut­ter­ances of the prime Min­is­ter in one of his ral­lies and in par­lia­ment,” read the let­ter.

Mr Mets­ing wanted the mo­tion to be dis­cussed in ac­cor­dance with Stand­ing Or­der No. 29, which states that: “Any mem­ber who is not a min­is­ter may on any day, other than the first day of ses­sion rise in his or her pledge and ask leave to move the ad­journ­ment of the busi­ness be­fore the House for the pur­pose of dis­cussing a def­i­nite mat­ter of ur­gent pub­lic im­por­tance.”

How­ever, Mr Motanyane stated that he was not con­vinced of the ur­gency of the mat­ter even though he agreed that the mat­ter was of pub­lic im­por­tance.

This did not go down well with the op­po­si­tion leg­is­la­tors who walked out of the house.

LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.