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BNP MP defies party, attends parliament


’Marafaele Mohloboli

Basotho National Party (BNP) legislator ’Makhotso Matšumunyane attended parliament on Thursday in a move condemned by party deputy leader Joang Molapo.

All opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) resolved not to set foot in the legislature until government facilitates the safe return of their leaders who fled to South Africa in May this year after claiming the army was planning to kill them.

The MPs, who started boycotting sittings on 26 June this year, also say they would not be part of the Ninth Parliament until government fires army commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli they accuse of being behind the threats on their leaders.

However, Matšumunyane of Senqu #78 constituency broke ranks on Thursday by attending the august house. Chief Molapo yesterday told the Sunday Express he had expressly informed the MP about the opposition’s decision to continue boycotting parliament when she called to seek permission to attend.

“We are all shocked and disappointed by her decision to attend parliament against our collective decision as the opposition not to do so. We just don’t understand what came to her mind,” said Chief Molapo.

“When she approached the executive to ask for permission to attend, she was flatly denied the request.

“We gave her a clear and loud ‘no’, which I think was what angered her and made her go against our wish. She felt very strongly about her attendance.

“We work collectively as a party and she simply can’t do things on her own. We are yet to decide what to do about this issue.”

Asked about her decision to attend Thursday’s sitting, Ms Matšumunyane said she was surprised her decision had stoked so much controversy.

“It is quite funny how people react sometimes. On 5November, other BNP members went to parliament and asked some questions but no one ever said a word about, but today, just because it’s me, everyone is talking about it.

“I had an urgent question to ask in parliament. There was a crisis in my constituency where it had rained heavily and a cemetery was badly damaged, leaving corpses and coffins exposed. I needed the matter addressed as it had some health implications on my community; the matter simply couldn’t wait,” said Ms Matšumunyane.

She confirmed Chief Molapo had not hidden his feelings about her decision to go to parliament. “He was evidently not happy with that move but my leader, Ntate ’Maseribane, seemed to be understanding, so I decided to go.”

Ms Matšumunyane said she owed it to her people to seek government assistance on their behalf.

“My people don’t understand what parliament boycott is all about because they have very little access to news, so that’s the least I could do for them; to go and present their problem in parliament.

“I know the implications of what I have done and if I am punished for it, so be it. I am a servant of my people.”

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