Bid to oust Mosisili foiled
THE MOVE by the Speaker of Lesotho’s National Assembly to expel 13 opposition legislators could save the administration of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili from a motion of a vote of no confidence.
Ntlhoi Motsamai sent letters to 13 opposition members of parliament (MPs) last Friday, asking them to “show cause” why she should not fire them for being absent without her permission.
The MPs include exiled opposition bloc leaders, former prime minister Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and his partners Thesele Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo, who sought refuge in South Africa last year fearing for their lives.
Motsamai has given them until today to say why they should not be ejected for being absent for a third of the year’s sessions of the house.
The opposition filed an application in the High Court on November 9, challenging the Speaker’s move, which would result in the number of opposition MPs being reduced from 55 to 42.
Advocate Haae Phoofolo, who is the former minister of law and constitutional affairs, says the speaker has no power to expel any parliamentarian for “she is not their appointing authority”. Her only option was to put forward her case by way of a motion to be deliberated by the house which would allow them to make representations.
Motsamai said she would inform the Independent Electoral Commission of the vacancies following the legislators’ responses.
Addressing his supporters on Sunday, Thabane warned that the electorate would judge the government harshly, saying: “The Speaker is for all the MPs not for a certain party and should not be dragged into factional battles.”
Motsamai’s decision comes shortly after the opposition, through Basotho National Party deputy leader Joang Molapo and Reformed Congress of Lesotho secretary-general Mamolula Ntabe filed a motion for a vote of no confidence against Deputy Speaker Motšuoe Lethoba. Should this succeed, it would be a precursor to a vote of no confidence in Mosisili and his coalition government.