OPPOSITION youth leaders have vowed undisclosed action to block what they termed “frantic efforts” by government to avoid a no-confidence vote when parliament reconvenes later this month.
The stakes will be high when the National Assembly reopens on 24 February with a looming no-confidence motion by the opposition against the coalition government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
The opposition alliance includes the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL), and the Alliance of Democrats (AD) with the latter led by Dr Mosisili’s former deputy in the Democratic Congress (DC), Monyane Moleleki.
Dr Mosisili has since vowed to dissolve parliament and call for snap elections in the event of a no-confidence vote against his government when parliament reconvenes.
In a joint statement issued this past week, the opposition youths said they were aware of government plans to cling to power “despite being a minority government”.
They said that one of the government “machinations” which would be executed by Finance Minister Tlohang Sekhamane, involved the use of section 113 of the Constitution of Lesotho to approve a three-month budget to keep operations of the government running without approval of the National Assembly.
This, according to the youths, would not be carried out in good faith “but simply to avoid the opposition which is going to oppose the budget in the National Assembly”.
They said another strategy would be to arrest several opposition legislators around the time of the reopening of parliament to reduce opposition numbers so that the motion fails.
In addition, the youths alleged government was considering using the police and soldiers to forcibly eject 13 opposition legislators from the august house when it reconvenes.
“We are not going to allow all this to happen. We are appealing to the entire nation to stand with us against this government, which has already lost numbers, from clinging to power unlawfully,” the AD’s Youth League President Thuso Litjobo said.
Mr Litjobo said they had come up with strategies to counter government plans but “we don’t want to reveal our strategy as yet, lest we comprise it”.
“But we will do something to counter the government’s plans. The fact that we already know about their ill-conceived strategies works to our advantage and allows us to come up with a counter plan.”
National Assembly Speaker, Ntlhoi Motsamai has mooted expelling 13 opposition members of parliament (MPs) for alleged absenteeism and recently, Defence Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi said he was “not expecting” the concerned legislators to participate in the looming no-confidence motion.
Mr Mokhosi, who is also Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader, said this while addressing scores of party supporters during a rally held near ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru last Sunday.
Contacted for a comment yesterday, Mr Sekhamane said he would call back this reporter but he had not done so at the time of going to print.