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Govt has no numbers in parly: Rapapa

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator Sam Rapapa says this week’s events in parliament where the ruling coalition lost a division vote were a clear display of the likely outcome of impending motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

On Monday, some ABC legislators aligned to the Professor Nqosa Mahao led faction of the party collaborated with opposition MPs and voted against the motion to suspend standing order 51(5) in order to accelerate the processing of the National Reforms Authority bill of 2019. Only 49 MPs, mostly from the ruling parties voted for the motion.

And Mr Rapapa said the Monday outcome opposition was a preview of what is to be expected on the looming motion of no confidence to oust Dr Thabane.

The motion of no confidence against Dr Thabane was filed in July by ABC Koro-Koro legislator, Motebang Koma and was seconded by the Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader, Motlalentoa Letsosa. Mr Rapapa was nominated as the caretaker Prime Minister if Dr Thabane is toppled.

“The opposition win in parliament on Monday gave a picture that we have adequate numbers to win the motion of no confidence when the time comes,” Mr Rapapa said.

“The numbers could even be higher if all of the MPs were present and if that trend translated to the vote of no confidence, the motion would be a success,” Mr Rapapa added.

He said the fact that the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) MPs voted with the rest of the opposition negated the perception that they had partnered with Dr Thabane.

“We are hopeful that we will win the motion of no confidence against Ntate Thabane. The LCD voted with the opposition to end the myth that they are planning to partner with Ntate Thabane. Three of our MPs from Thaba-Tseka, ‘Makhoroana and Likhoele (from Prof Mahao’s faction) were not in parliament on Monday and assuming that they would have voted with us, the margins would be larger.

“Also, three DC MPs that included Ntate Mosisili were absent. Ntate Metsing, Ntate Mokhosi and other LCD members were not in parliament to cast their vote. If most of them would have voted against the motion on Monday, the numbers would be bigger. These people (the government) do not have the numbers. They were hammered. So, we are hopeful that we will win the motion of no confidence against Ntate Thabane,” Mr Rapapa said.

He said they would go ahead with the no confidence motion however long it takes for Speaker of Parliament Sephiri Motanyane takes to table it. He urged Basotho should not lose hope because no confidence motions were known for taking a long time before they came to pass.

“We are still going ahead with the motion. People’s patience seems to be wearing off, but they should not despair because the no confidence motion battles take time. The no confidence motion against Ntate Mosisili started in November 2016 but he was only defeated in March the following year. They tried to delay the motion by closing parliament for long spells but eventually we won.

“The same goes for the ABC infighting. People are in a hurry for the fight to end yet these fights take long. They are not aware that we are just at the beginning of the battle for the truth,” he said.

He said they voted against the government on Monday because there did not find any compelling reason why the processing of the National Reforms Authority bill must be fast-tracked to bypass all the stages. Mr Rapapa said the bill should go through all the necessary stages of review by relevant committees.

Mr Rapapa said while it was the Southern African Development Community (SADC) suggestion that the bill should be fast tracked, it was imperative for it to go through the normal procedure.

“Procedure should be followed. Bills are reviewed by mandated committees in parliament. There is no reason for this one to be snuck in. We cannot let SADC tell us what to do when we have clear procedures that guide how parliament conducts business,” Mr Rapapa said.

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