Ex-GS Ramohlanka appointed deputy speaker of parliament

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

FORMER Government Secretary (GS), Lebohang Ramohlanka was yesterday sworn in as the deputy speaker of parliament.

Ms Ramohlanka was voted into the position after her predecessor, Teboho Lehloenya, was ousted through a vote of no confidence on Monday.

Mr Lehloenya lost the post after his Alliance of Democrats (AD) party was left out of the new grand coalition government led by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the Democratic Congress (DC) last month.

The ABC-DC grand coalition have 76 parliamentary seats. They are supported by eight smaller parties that include Movement for Economic Change (six seats), Basotho National Party (five seats) and Popular Front for Democracy (three seats).

Other smaller parties which have one seat each are Reformed Congress of Lesotho, Basotho Congress Party, National Independent Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and Democratic Party of Lesotho.

Ms Ramohlanka is a member of the DC. The motion against Mr Lehloenya was filed by her party legislator for Motete, Tumahole Lerafa. Mr Lerafa was seconded by the Qaqatu legislator, Lethusang Kompi, who later nominated Ms Ramohlanka for the position.

She competed against former health minister and ABC legislator for Mechachane, Nyapane Kaya. Ms Ramohlanka amassed 61 votes against Mr Kaya’s 48.

Mr Kaya was nominated by AD legislator ‘Maphoka Motoboli, who was seconded by her AD counterpart, Thuso Litjobo.

Ms Ramohlanka comes highly recommended and is no stranger to parliament. She served as the National Assembly clerk from 2007 to 2012.

Before then, she served as Lesotho’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom from 2000 to 2005 and was later appointed the Mafeteng District Administrator until 2007.

Ms Ramohlanka also served as government secretary for two years during former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s seven party coalition government from 2015 to 2017. She was booted out after the collapse of Mr Mosisili’s administration in 2017.

Her recent engagement was with the National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) as a member. Addressing the legislators after her swearing in yesterday, Ms Ramohlanka vowed to use her position to help expedite the implementation of the reforms as articulated by the wishes of the Basotho during the NDPC national and diaspora consultations.

Her past experience as clerk of the National Assembly makes her better placed to serve diligently in her new office, Ms Ramohlanka said.

“I am most humbled to stand before you today to make these remarks in acceptance of the huge honour that has just been bestowed upon me by this honourable house,” Ms Ramohlanka said.

“As some honourable members might recall, I have served this honourable house before as clerk. I am therefore fully aware of the responsibilities that come with this position while I am also aware of some of the challenges facing this house.”

She hailed Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s eagerness to see the successful implementation of the reforms.

“I am aware that long before there could be talk of overarching national reforms, This August House, blazed the trail when in 2004 it had its own reforms programme launched by the then prime minister, Mr Mosisili.

“I have noted with keen interest the commitment of the current coalition government as expressed by Dr Majoro, to extend unwavering support to the National Reforms Authority (NRA) and to deliver the full implementation of the reforms by end of this year…

“As I bow before this house today, I promise that I will serve and support to the best of my ability any initiative intended to render parliament more independent, better resourced and best capacitated to not only execute its normal mandate but in particular to expedite the special assignment of converting into law, the wishes of the people of Lesotho as expressed during the 2018/2019 in-district and diaspora consultations,” Ms Ramohlanka said.

On his part, National Assembly Speaker, Sephiri Motanyane, spoke highly of Ms Ramohlanka’s saying that she was experienced more than many parliamentarians.

“She is a well-rounded and dynamic woman suited for the job. There is no doubt she will help lead the house diligent. She already knows the ropes,” Mr Motanyane said.

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