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Storm brews over parly opening

by Lesotho Times
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Billy Ntaote

POLITICAL parties are edgy ahead of the reconvening of the National Assembly on 7 October 2016 amid speculation Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili faces a possible no-confidence vote.

According to well-placed sources, who requested not to be named, the reopening of the august house could see the realignment of the political order, as not only Dr Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) was divided but other parties as well.

Infighting in the DC has reached fever pitch over a controversial government fleet tender that threatens to tear the party apart among other reasons. Two factions have emerged in the party, with Lithope (loosely translated to girlfriends) linked to Dr Mosisili and Lirurubele (butterflies) linked to his deputy and Police Minister Monyane Moleleki.

However, Mr Moleleki this week said he had no intention of toppling the government, adding some of his DC colleagues were busy wooing opposition MPs to support Dr Mosisili fearing a no-confidence in the government was looming.

The sources said in the event of a no-confidence motion, Dr Mosisili might have unlikely allies in the opposition while they may also be surprises from the seven-party governing coalition.

“Divisions are also evident in the main opposition party All Basotho Convention (ABC), with its deputy leader Tlali Khasu – who was recently suspended by party’s National Executive Committee – likely to vote for Mosisili along with a handful of MPs from the ABC,” the source said.

“Pro-Mosisili votes could also emanate from disenfranchised Basotho National Party (BNP) MPs if a vote of no-confidence motion was to be brought into the House.”

The BNP has filed a petition in the High Court seeking the dismissal of two former members, ’Makhotso Matšumunyane and Lesojane Leuta as MPs.

Commenting on the matter, ABC spokesperson Tefo Mapesela said he had no knowledge of his party’s MPs being wooed.

He said the ABC had not yet discussed the possibility of a no-confidence motion against the government and how they would vote but warned Dr Mosisili to desist from making any rushed decision that could cost him his political career.

“I don’t know the PM’s intentions as he recently revealed the date for the opening of parliament during the protest march,” he said.

“However he should know we are ready for anything he plans to do in the house since he hinted he had something planned.”

BNP Secretary-General Reginald Tekateka said he was confident his party still had control of all its votes save for Ms Matšumunyane and Mr Leuta.

Meanwhile, outspoken politician Bokang Ramatšella said a no-confidence motion against the premier would be an “uphill task” as there were procedures to follow.

He said when the house reconvenes on Friday next week, there would be an opening agenda that is normally followed by the Leader of the House Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s proposal for a sine die adjournment of the sitting.

“After the adjournment, anyone who has a motion to submit to the National Assembly can do so, which can be dealt by the Business Committee whose sole responsibility is to set the agenda of the August House,” he said.

“No-confidence and floor crossing motions are not just parachuted into the house, they are firstly discussed thoroughly in the Business Committee before being set on the order paper of the National Assembly.”

Mr Ramatšella added: “If there are people who want to bring a no-confidence motion against our coalition government and prime minister, they are in for an uphill task.”

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