Bid to oust Mo­sisili foiled

African Independent - - SADC - SECHABA MOKHETHI

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.

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