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Another no confidence motion filed against Thabane

by Sunday Express
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’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE largest opposition, Democratic Congress, party took advantage of Friday’s re-opening of parliament to file a fresh no confidence motion against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

This is the second no confidence motion Thabane has faced since he came into office in the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 elections.

On 5 June 2019, his own All Basotho Convention (ABC) party’s Koro-Koro legislator Motebang Koma filed a no confidence against him and proposed ABC chairperson and Mosalemane constituency legislator, Samuel Rapapa, to take over as Caretaker Prime Minister.

The motion was seconded by DC deputy leader Motlalentoa Letsosa and supported by the rest of the opposition parties except former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD). The LCD insisted that it would only support the motion on condition that Mr Rapapa and his backers agreed to a government of national unity.

The motion was however, thrown out by the Speaker of Parliament, Sephiri Motanyane, on the grounds that it did not have its basis in law and parliamentary practice. Mr Motanyane ruled that the motion did not meet “procedural and constitutional requirements” in that it ought to have been filed by the opposition and not by a member of a party in government.

He also said the motion was flawed in that it proposed ABC MP Mr Rapapa as the caretaker prime minister instead of an opposition leader. This was despite that he sought and obtained Attorney General, Advocate Haae Phoofolo’s legal opinion where the latter advised that the motion was legally sound and resorted to getting a legal opinion from before he could rule on the admissibility of the motion.

Parliament was also abruptly adjourned without explanation last November, sparking widespread belief that this was done to give Dr Thabane time to address the infighting in his party which had led to the motion being filed against him.

The motion was eventually made redundant by Dr Thabane’s 16 January announcement that he will soon be retiring due to old age. On Thursday, the premier said he would step down at the end of July this year but this has come a little too late to the opposition and in particular the DC who took advantage of Friday’s re-opening of parliament to file a fresh no confidence motion against him.

The DC’s Senqu legislator, Likeleli Tampane, file the motion and proposed the DC’s legislator for Malingoaneng, Serialong Qoo, to take over as Caretaker Prime Minister.

Ms Tampane’s motion was immediately seconded by Thabo Ramatla of the Selibe Mochoboroane-led Movement for Economic Change (MEC).

“That this Honourable House has no confidence in the Prime Minister, Dr Thomas Motsoahae Thabane and the government of Lesotho and recommends that His Majesty (King Letsie III) appoints Honourable Serialong Qoo in place of the Prime Minister,” part of the motion states.

In a subsequent interview with the Sunday Express, Ms Tampane said she would not say much “except that we have filed this motion and more details will be revealed on Monday (tomorrow)”.

On his part, DC deputy leader Mr Letsosa said, “we have filed this motion and would rather not say much about it at the moment”.

According to the constitution, if a prime minister loses a no confidence motion, he can either step down or advise the King to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections.

However, the motion cannot succeed without succeed from some legislators in the governing coalition who may not in all likelihood inclined to support a motion against a premier who has already committed to stepping down.

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