Date set for parley opening

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Letuka Chafotsa

Ministers & MPS on Friday during  the re-opening of the 8th Parliament Session (3)Lesotho’s 9th National Assembly will be opened on 8 May 2015 following its indefinite suspension last month.

The 10 March adjournment came soon after the new legislators had taken oath of office, and sought to pave way for the swearing-in of the prime minister and cabinet, which took place on 17 March and 31 March, respectively.

Meanwhile, Members of Parliament (MPs) also elected Ntlhoi Motsamai and Mantšuoe Lethoba as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, after their swearing-in as the people’s representatives in the 9th National Assembly.

However, opposition MPs and certain sections of society had expressed outrage over the continued closure of the legislature by the seven-party coalition government headed by Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Pakalitha Mosisili, arguing the move violated citizens’ right to hold their leadership to account.

But according to a circular dated 23 April 2015 and endorsed by National Assembly Clerk Fine Maema, the first session of the 9th Parliament would be held on 8 May from 9am.

The notice, which is addressed to all the 120 MPs and copied to heads of government departments and principal secretaries, reads: ‘You are hereby notified that His Majesty, King Letsie III, has summoned the 9th Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho to meet on Friday, 8 May 2015, at 10:30 am at Parliament Building in Maseru.

“Honourable members are however, notified that the sitting will, as usual commence at 9am.”

King Letsie III is expected to deliver his Speech from the Throne, which outlines government’s plans for its five-year tenure.

Lesotho is under a new government which came to power after the 28 February 2015 snap elections. The polls came two years early after the midterm collapse of the three-party government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, which had come to power in June 2012.

Sharp differences between Dr Thabane and his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing, eventually led to the collapse of Lesotho’s first coalition government.

In addition to Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), and Mr Metsing’s  Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), the coalition also included the Basotho National Party.

After the Southern African Development Community had failed to bring the warring governing parties to an amicable agreement, Basotho found themselves back at the polling stations once again.

However, the ABC and BNP alliance failed to garner the needed majority seats to remain in government, prompting the DC to form an alliance with the LCD, Popular Front for Democracy, National Independent Party, Basotho Congress Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and Lesotho People’s Congress and subsequently government.

The alliance chose Dr Mosisili, whose party had the highest number of seats in the legislature, as prime minister, and Mr Metsing as his deputy. The DC had at 47 seats, while the LCD had  12. The PFD brought two seats to the coalition, while the LPC, BCP, MFP and NIP each brought one seat to the alliance.

 

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