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Metsing heckled at party leaders debate

by Lesotho Times
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Billy Ntaote

Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, was heckled during a political party leaders debate held at Lehakoe Centre late yesterday.

A group of All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) supporters kept interrupting the deputy prime minister’s response to their questions regarding his role in the collapse of the coalition government.

The group continually interjected and booed as the LCD leader attempted to answer their questions, but still managed to make cutting remarks about how he was not responsible for the coalition government’s failure to last its five-year term.

However, the group demanded to know why Mr Metsing was always insisting on being consulted by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane each time the ABC leader made a decision. This claim was one of the reasons the governing alliance of the ABC, BNP and LCD collapsed midterm, prompting the 28 February 2015 snap elections brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Said Moshoeshoe Moeketsi from the floor: “My understanding is that your claims of not being consulted by your coalition partners landed us where we are today; you are to blame for this mess.

“Were the complaints necessary? We didn’t have a constitution that specified how a prime minister should work in a coalition government setting.”

Maleeka Monyatsi, also from the floor, accused Mr Metsing of speaking about the constitution in his presentation  about the LCD policies yesterday yet he had acted as if it did not exist when he became part of the coalition government in June 2012.

Thato Ponya also asked Mr Metsing how the LCD intends to improve the public service should the party win the upcoming elections.

In response, a very composed Mr Metsing said his party would “depoliticise” the civil service to ensure workers are only hired on merit.

On complaints that Dr Thabane was not consulting him in the spirit of their Coalition Agreement, Mr Metsing said he always laughs whenever the issue comes up as people misunderstood what he meant.

“For instance, parliament had the powers to remove the prime minister as we were no longer satisfied with him but our agreement with the international community was that we should go for elections.

“We were told not to utilise the powers we had and respected the international community and agreed to go for elections.

“However right now, there is an agreement that there can be no hiring or firing of people in state institutions, but as we speak, the prime minister is disregarding the same agreements that helped him dodge a vote-of-no-confidence in parliament, claiming he was protected by the constitution.

“It’s unfortunate we approach issues this way and only respect the constitution when it suits us. If that is the case, then SADC should have let us remove him through a no-confidence vote.”

Meanwhile, other party leaders—ABC Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele and the party’s deputy leader Tlali Khasu, BNP deputy leader Joang Molapo, and the Democratic Congress’ Teboho Lehloenya—made their presentations before the lively crowd without any hiccups.

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