By Boitumelo Koloi
MASERU — The speaker of parliament Sephiri Motanyane this week said he could not make a decision regarding an application by a group of legislators seeking to pass a no-confidence vote on the coalition government.
Motanyane said while it was allowed to form alliances in parliament, declaring principles upon which they would have been premised, as well as the individuals involved, was important.
Knowing the people involved in such alliances would inform how his office notifies the King about the new balance of power, Motanyane on Tuesday told the National Assembly.
“I need to know the numbers and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), of these groups because that would determine the seating allocation in parliament. It would also help when I notify His Majesty of the latest numbers in the House.
“But since there is no MoU, I’m not in a position to make a precise ruling on the application,” Motanyane said.
According to the speaker, the only recognised alliances in the National Assembly were the coalition government, main opposition, as well as ‘Bloc’, whose MoU were all tabled before the house.
The coalition administration was created after the 2012 parliamentary election produced a hung parliament, resulting in the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP), coming together to form a government.
The Democratic Congress (DC) and Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) also came together to form the official opposition, while six parties — the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC), Lesotho Workers’ Party (LWP), Marema-tlou Freedom Party (MFP), National Independent Party (NIP), Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) officially identified themselves as the ‘Bloc’.
Last week, a group identifying itself as the Parliamentary Working Alliance of Political Parties and Individual Members, wrote to Motanyane informing him it had decided to work together “on all parliamentary business, including legislation, oversight and budgetary business”.
According to a notice dated March 17, the decision was reached at a caucus held on March 8 by the BBDP, Basotho Congress Party (BCP), DC, LPC, LWP, MFP and NIP, as well as ABC members of parliament, Mophato Monyake and Thabiso Litšiba.
Following the notice, the BBDP leader Jeremane Ramathebane, supported by some members of the DC, had notified the speaker of the intention to move the no-confidence vote. But according to Motanyane, until the group satisfies all the requirements he had just outlined, he would not grant the permission to go ahead.