DC members attend LCD press conference in solidarity
PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane’s decision to prorogue (suspend) parliament for nine months will adversely affect the approval of laws currently before the august house, his government partner Mothetjoa Metsing said yesterday.
Metsing, who is leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), said for any democracy to function properly, parliament must be allowed to discharge its mandate.
Proroguing parliament for nine months would not only adversely affect a plethora of laws awaiting approval but also derail the approval of any new urgent legislation, rendering proper governance impossible.
Speaking during a press conference held yesterday at Black Swan Lodge in Maseru, Metsing, who is also deputy prime minister, said parliament would have to “start afresh” discussing all the laws that had not been passed when it finally reconvenes next year.
He described such a situation as untenable.
“We were not only disregarded and never consulted when Ntate Thabane decided to have the parliament prorogued, but the prorogation was actually premature and ill-timed.
“If some of these Bills we are going to read out to you, which were before parliament or in the process of being signed into law, are not signed into law, as we have heard there are orders to have them signed into law, then we would know there is utter disregard for the laws of Lesotho by the Prime Minister,” Metsing said.
Metsing’s sentiments were supported by party chairman Thabang Pheko, who said whenever a prorogation is effected, all the Bills before parliament and any other business that was before the august house, would have to be started afresh, when it reopens.
Mr Pheko said among the proposed laws to be affected by the prorogation is the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2014, which was supposed to reduce tax deducted from workers’ salaries.
“It was now before the Law Office and about to be given Royal ascend as a date had already been set for the King to sign it into law. Another law is the National Assembly Electoral Amendment Bill 2014, which was also now at the Law Office for binding, although a date for Royal approval had not yet been set with the Office of the King.
“The Insurance Amendment Bill 2013 is another law that has been compromised, as well as the Public Officers’ Defined Contributory Pension Fund Amendment Bill on statutory position-holders’ pensions,” Mr Pheko said.
Mr Pheko further said other laws affected by the prorogation are the Industrial Licensing Bill which was still before parliament.
“The Cooperatives Licensing Bill, which we thought would change the lives of Basotho as it related to the manner in which cooperatives have been run in the past, is also affected and would have to go back again, when parliament reopens in March next year.
“The Police Service Amendment Bill meant to formally transfer the police to their new ministry, is also among the affected laws.
“The Lesotho Standards Bill, Mines Amendment Bill and Liquor Licensing Bill, are also some of the affected laws which the prime minister, by prorogating parliament, is disregarding and forcing to be returned back to parliament next year,” Mr Pheko said.
Meanwhile, present at the LCD press conference were members of the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC), who said they were there to offer support to a fellow congress party.