MASERU — Mophato Monyake, the Minister of Law and Correctional Services blames the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) for delaying in parliamentary processes owing to “deliberate disruptions to normal operations”. “Members of the Democratic Congress are in the habit of making uncalled for noises that disrupt normal proceedings of the august house,” Monyake said.
The DC is the main opposition party with 48 parliamentary seats and an additional seat from the Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) from the partnership formed by the two after the May 2012 poll. According Monyake, who is also the Stadium Area constituency MP under ABC banner DC MP’s behave in an unruly manner to a point where normal activities of the noble house have to be suspended. “In innumerable instances the Speaker of the National Assembly has had to call some of the DC parliamentarians to order because of unbecoming conduct,” Monyake said.
“On numerous occasions too, the sittings of the house have had to be adjourned because of unscrupulous noises resulting from their thirst to direct the house to fit their personal agenda”. Instances of such disruption, according to Monyake, include some in which MPs, particularly from the DC, have even been “given their marching orders from the house”. Teboho Letšela, the DC MP for the Hololo constituency, was chased out of the house for back-chatting the Speaker of the house Sephiri Motanyane.
In late May, Kose Makoa, the DC MP for the Mt Moorosi constituency also came under fire for back chatting Motanyane, after the speaker made the ruling that DC leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Monyane Moleleki had been “fraudulently signing for sitting allowances”. The rest of the DC members, infuriated by Motanyane’s ruling, also joined in the fray, disrupting the day’s sitting. In spite of the disruptions, Monyake alluded to, a number of bills have been passed by the house.
Approved bills included the Appropriation Bill, the Minimum Wages Bill, Office of the Attorney-General (Amendment) Bill and the Industrial Licensing Bill 2013. But Ralechate ‘Mokose, the DC secretary-general said Monyake’s claims were inaccurate and unjustifiable. In ‘Mokose’s view, the fact that the august house operates under the charge of the Speaker of the National Assembly who has statutory powers to call to order “any misbehaving parliamentarian”, invalidates Monyake’s accusations.
“The Speaker can even expel any member from the house on grounds of misconduct and even go to the extent of revoking their sitting allowance,” ‘Mokose said. He added: “MPs who seemingly go astray are constantly called to order”. ‘Mokose, a former MP for the Kolonyama constituency, said the noise purportedly made by MPs during parliamentary sessions is not in any way “a form of disruption”. “The noise he’s referring to is but a normal characteristic of the august house and is also a very effective way to keep MP’s awake and active,” Mokose said.
Mokose said the parliament comprises decent members compared to other countries people even get to the extent of “engaging in physical wrestling”. Members of Parliament in countries like Taiwan and India regularly engage in fisticuffs. ‘Mokose said he questions Monyake’s conversance with the processes of the august house.
“I believe his utterances were merely for scoring political points,” ’Mokose said.