MPs sue over parly closure

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Billy Ntaote

ELEVEN Members of Parliament (MPs) will institute legal action to compel National Assembly Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai to reconvene the parliament after she snubbed their written request demanding she re-opens the august house.

Ms Motsamai indefinitely adjourned the National Assembly on the 22nd November saying the House had “run out of time” following the presentation and tabling of various reports and bills.

Ordinarily, the motion to adjourn the House indefinitely is presented by the Leader of the House, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, with MPs afforded the opportunity to debate the motion.

Opposition legislators reacted angrily to the move which they viewed as a strategy to dodge a proposed no-confidence motion against the coalition government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

The adjournment was made after the opposition last week submitted a no-confidence motion on Deputy Speaker Montšuoe Lethoba.

The motion was meant to test the opposition alliance’s strength ahead of another no-confidence motion on the seven-party governing coalition.

However, the motion never saw the light of day after the speaker and her deputy did not raise it up for debate much to the chagrin of the opposition lawmakers.

After the adjournment, Advocate Makhetha Motšoari penned a letter on behalf of the 11 MPs demanding the reconvening of parliament by the 29th of November but this was ignored by Ms Motsamai.

The 11 MPs are: Samonyane Ntsekele, Majoro Mohapi, Motlohi Maliehe, Joang Molapo, Mamolula Ntabe, Moshoeshoe Fako, ’Manthabiseng Phohleli, Tjoetsane Seoka, Tieho Mamasiane, Mokhele Moletsane and Tsoinyane Rapapa.

This MPs are drawn from the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Democratic Congress (DC), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) parties.

Part of the letter reads: “Our client have informed us that your good self on the 22nd day of November 2016 adjourned the National Assembly sine die. We have been informed further that you took this move without asking a question to the members of the house as expected”.

The letter states the adjournment prejudiced the MPS and the entire nation, therefore requesting Ms Motsamai to reconvene parliament with the expectation being that “the house shall have its seating today the 29th day of November 2016”.

“Failure to act in accordance with this letter shall leave us with no option but to approach the courts of law for immediate relief,” the letter further states.

Ms Motsamai referred the Lesotho Times to the Clerk of the National Assembly, King’s Counsel Advocate Fine Maema for comment but his mobile phone rang unanswered.

However, Adv Motšoari told this publication that his clients had instructed him to take the matter to court following the Speaker’s failure to respond to the letter of demand.

 

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