D-Day for PM

By B Zihlangu

MASERU — Democratic Congress (DC) leader Pakalitha Mosisili could make a sensational return to power if a planned no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane sails through parliament tomorrow.

The deputy speaker of parliament Lekhetho Rakuoane yesterday told the Lesotho Times a notification of the motion was submitted to the Speaker’s office on Tuesday and proposes Mosisili as Thabane’s successor.
“Ntate Pakalitha Mosisili’s name is proposed in the notice as the replacement-candidate for the premiership,” Rakuoane said.

“But there are no reasons given for the proposed motion because although it is stipulated that movers of any motions may provide reasons, it is not a must.”

Rakuoane further said the notice was submitted by the Basotho Batho Democratic Party leader, Jeremane Ramathebane — a member of the task-team which includes DC legislators Mootsi Lehata, Kose Makoa and Tso’eu Mokeretla that has been assigned to facilitate the motion by lobbying support from other MPs.

According to parliament’s Standing Order Number 111, ‘A Vote of No Confidence in the Government,’ may be moved after a day’s notice.
“To the motion may be added reasons for so stating and to which shall be added the name of a member of the House for His Majesty to appoint in the place of the Prime Minister,” the section says.

While Rakuoane could not say when the motion would be debated, the Lesotho Times has it on good authority it would be moved before parliament tomorrow.

“I am yet to refer it to the Business Committee to allocate the date when it would be tabled in the House,” Rakuoane said.

Rakuoane had however, been of the opinion the Business Committee would decide that the motion be tabled once Parliament has completed the budget allocations to government ministries for the 2014/2015 financial year.
“I think the motion will be tabled in the House once parliament has allocated the budget,” Rakuoane said.

On Monday, government spokesperson and communications minister Selibe Mochoboroane, issued a statement on national television that the “anticipated vote-of-no-confidence against the Prime Minister by some members of parliament will have to wait until the budget has been allocated to government ministries”.

But the Lesotho Times was told last night that the motion was “certain” to be discussed tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Mosisili’s DC has teamed-up with smaller parties, among them the Basotho Congress Party, Lesotho Workers Party, National Independent Party, Lesotho People’s Congress, Maremathlou Freedom Party and factions of Rakuoane’s Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) to build enough numbers to unseat Thabane.

It is believed the ABC’s Stadium Area constituency MP Mophato Monyake, a former justice minister, ABC MP for the Koro-Koro constituency Thabiso Litšiba and the ABC proportional representation MP and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Molobeli Soulo, are party to the motion to unseat Thabane.

Monyake and Soulo were last month fired from cabinet by Thabane.

Mosisili’s 15-year tenure as prime minister abruptly ended after the May 2012 poll produced a hung parliament, paving the way for the ABC, LCD and Basotho National Party to cobble up their numbers, to come up with the constitutionally required 61 seats to form a government.

An authoritative source who is party to the motion, told the Lesotho Times the desire by MPs to see Thabane booted out was motivated by unpopular decisions the premier has made since coming to power in June 2012.
“When conflicts within the security forces began to spill into the public domain, he failed to contain them because of his divisive nature,” said the sources.

Thabane’s public revelation that he was involved in an extramarital relationship with prominent ABC activist Liabiloe Ramoholi, which started more than ten years ago while he was still serving as home affairs minister under Mosisili’s LCD government, “has brought shame to the office of the PM”, the sources also said.
“The fact that he was willing to go all out to discuss the matter publicly is indicative of a man who has lost control, as the Thabane of old would never do that,” the sources further said.

Contacted for comment yesterday, the DC secretary general Ralechate ‘Mokose confirmed Mosisili had been nominated as the candidate to replace Thabane in the event that their motion succeeds.
“We believe he is the only person able to bring stability to Lesotho right now because there is no denying that things are not going well, as we speak,” ‘Mokose said.

‘Mokose also told the Lesotho Times that because the DC was the party with the majority seats in parliament and a participant in the proposed ‘vote of no confidence’ motion against Thabane “it’s only logical that he is nominated to replace Thabane”.

Asked if Mosisili was willing to take over from Thabane should the motion succeed, ‘Mokose said he was not in a position to respond “at the moment”.

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