Govt laughs off no-con­fi­dence mo­tion

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE gov­ern­ing four-party coali­tion says the op­po­si­tion’s sub­mis­sion of a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion on Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane and his ad­min­is­tra­tion in par­lia­ment is a pub­lic­ity stunt that is bound to fail.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter and gov­ern­ment spokesper­son, Joang Mo­lapo, has told the Sun­day Ex­press that the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion has “no chance” of suc­cess since the gov­ern­ing al­liance has a su­pe­rior num­ber of seats in the au­gust house.

The gov­ern­ing al­liance con­sists of Dr Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Al­liance of Democrats (AD), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho.

The par­ties cob­bled to­gether their 63 seats to form Le­sotho’s third coali­tion gov­ern­ment af­ter the 3 June 2017 Na­tional Assem­bly elec­tions re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

They ousted a seven-party gov­ern­ment led by Demo­cratic Congress leader (DC), Pakalitha Mo­sisili, which failed to last the dis­tance af­ter as­sum­ing power in March 2017.

Dr Mo­sisili’s DC and six other par­ties that con­sti­tuted the for­mer gov­ern­ment could only muster 47 seats col­lec­tively, which were 14 short of the 61- seat thresh­old to form gov­ern­ment.

The “four-by-four” coali­tion, as it is widely known, also added one seat from the op­po­si­tion af­ter the elec­tions when the DC’s Tlo­he­lang Au­mane joined the AD. The al­liance added three more seats af­ter the ABC won the 30 Septem­ber 2017 by-elec­tions in Thupa-Kubu, Hololo and Teya-teya­neng #24.

As it stands, the gov­ern­ment has 67 seats, while the DC and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) have 40.

On Thurs­day, the DC’s leg­is­la­tor for Qal­a­bane, Mot­la­len­toa Let­sosa, and the LCD’s Li­neo Tlali sub­mit­ted the no­tice for the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion to Na­tional Assem­bly Clerk Fine Maema.

The duo wants ex­iled DC deputy leader, Mathi­beli Mokhothu, to take over from Dr Tha­bane in the event the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion is suc­cess­ful. The Na­tional Assem­bly ad­journed sine die (for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod) in Au­gust and a de­ter­mi­na­tion of the date of re­open­ing is ex­pected to be made this week.

Mr Mokhothu fled the coun­try in Au­gust this year cit­ing “sus­pi­cious ve­hi­cles” at his home and al­leg­ing per­se­cu­tion of op­po­si­tion lead­ers by the gov­ern­ment.

The DC is the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion party in par­lia­ment, and its spokesper­son, Se­ri­a­long Qoo, told this publi­ca­tion the op­posi- tion had en­gaged some “dis­af­fected” leg­is­la­tors from the gov­ern­ment side who had com­mit­ted to jump ship.

Mr Qoo said they had ini­tially com­mit­ted to al­low the gov­ern­ment to serve its full five-year term but “this had proved im­pos­si­ble”.

He also as­serted that the DCLCD bloc would be joined by other op­po­si­tion par­ties.

How­ever, Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, whose party has three seats, was non-com­mit­tal when con­tacted by this publi­ca­tion.

“I would rather not com­ment on it,” he said.

Move­ment for Eco­nomic Change (MEC) leader Se­libe Mo­choboroane said he didn’t know any­thing about the mo­tion since he was out of the coun­try.

“I am not aware of such a mo­tion as I am away from home,” said Mr Mo­choboroane, whose party has six seats.

Sources in the op­po­si­tion who spoke to this publi­ca­tion on con­di­tion of anonymity said they were count­ing on the gov­ern­ment’s dis­mis­sive­ness of the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion to “catch them by sur­prise”.

The sources said they were tak­ing ad­van­tage of the frus­tra­tions of some leg­is­la­tors for not be­ing ap­pointed to min­is­te­rial po­si­tions and fis­sures within the in­di­vid­ual par­ties.

Com­ment­ing on the devel­op­ment, Chief Mo­lapo said the op­po­si­tion’s mo­tion was a pub­lic­ity stunt that was bound to fail.

“No-con­fi­dence mo­tions are made on the ba­sis of var­i­ous con­crete rea­sons,” he said in an in­ter­view this week.

“Some­times, they are made when the op­po­si­tion re­al­izes it is be­com­ing ir­rel­e­vant since the gov­ern­ment is tak­ing all the peo­ple’s at­ten­tion with its pro­grammes.”

Chief Mo­lapo con­tin­ued: “They are well aware that the mo­tion has no chance of see­ing the light of day. We know math­e­mat­ics and we are sure that we have the num­bers to re­main gov­ern­ment. We will de­bate the mo­tion when the time comes although we don’t see it suc­ceed­ing.”

He said the op­po­si­tion par­ties could in­ad­ver­tently lose more seats in the un­likely event that the mo­tion is suc­cess­ful and fresh elec­tions are called.

“This is purely an at­ten­tion seek­ing stunt, and we are happy to have added more seats in the by-elec­tions mak­ing us much stronger.

“If at all there is some dis­sat­is­fac­tion or un­hap­pi­ness among some leg­is­la­tors, th­ese are is­sues that can be dealt with in­ter­nally. We don’t know what makes them think that leg­is­la­tors are so un­happy that they would risk go­ing for elec­tions again,” added Chief Mo­lapo.

The AD’s youth wing also scoffed at the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion in a press con­fer­ence held on Fri­day, say­ing it was a mere “dream” by the op­po­si­tion.

AD Youth League Pres­i­dent, Thuso Litjobo, said they would en­sure that the gov­ern­ment served its full term, adding that they were un­per­turbed by “some mi­nor fights” in their po­lit­i­cal par­ties play­ing out on so­cial me­dia.

“Some peo­ple are not happy be­cause the gov­ern­ment has been in place for some months and they did not get any jobs,” he said.

“The prob­lem is mainly at the grass­roots level, but at the lead­er­ship level we are still on good terms. This is­sue can be con­tained within the par­ties. It can only be a cause for con­cern when the fights are at the lead­er­ship level.”

p“This is urely an at­ten­tion seek­ing stunt, and we are happy to have added more seats in the by-elec­tions mak­ing us much stronger

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