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BNP in bid to have Molapo kicked out of parly

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Basotho National Party (BNP) will have to approach the High Court in its quest to have its former deputy leader, Joang Molapo, kicked out of parliament.

This after the Speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, advised the party that the recall of MPs can only be decided by the High Court.

The BNP had, on 10 September 2021, written to Mr Motanyane advising him of its decision to recall Chief Molapo who dumped the BNP for the Monyane Moleleki-led Alliance of Democrats (AD) in July 2020.

This means that for over a year since his defection, Chief Molapo has been serving AD interests in parliament despite that he was sent to the august house as a BNP proportional representation MP.

The BNP only moved to ‘expel’ him in March 2021 and notified Mr Motanyane of its intention to recall from parliament on 10 September.

In her letter to Mr Motanyane, BNP chief whip, ‘Mapulumo Hlao, said, “Honourable Joang Molapo is no longer a member of the Basotho National Party (BNP) following his dismissal from the party with effect from 10 March 2021”.

“Whilst we acknowledge that in terms of section 188 (3) of the National Assembly Electoral Act, dismissal from a political party is not expressly listed as one of the grounds for a member allocated a seat by proportional representation to vacate such a seat, we submit that such a literal interpretation would defeat the spirit and purpose of the said legal provision.

“In our view, the intention of section 188 (3) is broadly that a member of a political party should vacate his or her seat if he ceases to be a member of a political party under whose party list he or she was appointed to the National Assembly. Hence the section provides that, a member who resigns from his or her political party or crosses the floor shall vacate his or her proportional seat. It would be an absurdity if a member who loses his or her political party membership on the grounds of dismissal does not vacate his or her seat in the National Assembly.

“On this basis we submit that since Hon Joang Molapo’s seat has since become vacant, we invite the Honourable Speaker to fill the vacancy in terms of Section 187 (2) of the National Assembly Electoral Act,” Ms Hlao states.

Mr Motanyane subsequently addressed the issue in parliament, saying, “Section 69 of the Constitution provides that the High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear or determine whether the said seat has indeed become vacant”.

“Further to that, Section 125 of the National Assembly Electoral Act also provides that the High Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine whether a seat of an MP has become vacant.

“This issue is not in my hands. I don’t want to meddle and I therefore hope the BNP will consider my advice,” Mr Motanyane said last week.

BNP spokesperson ‘Masetota Leshota yesterday told the Sunday Express that her party’s legal team was now seized with the matter.

“The matter is being dealt with by our legal team who shall advise on the way forward,” Ms Leshota said.

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