Bongiwe Zihlangu MASERU — King Letsie III has applauded Lesotho’s first coalition government for heralding a new era that affords the country a unique opportunity “to start afresh”. Officially opening the Eighth Parliament on Friday, the King said a new era in Lesotho’s politics had been ushered because of “the nature of our new coalition government”. “Honourable members, this new era affords us a unique opportunity to carve new relations towards the realisation of reconciliation, tolerance and the consolidation of the roots of democracy for the welfare of our people,” the King said.
“Because of the turn of events, other political parties decided to come together with the intention to form a coalition government.”
“That gesture on its own should be applauded as it is testimony that there is cooperation among parties and growth in our politics.”
He added that the formation of the coalition government also challenges political leaders to “sow seeds of love, unity and cooperation in our people in the villages”. “The people who voted you to your current positions are also pinning their hopes on you to improve their lives and the country in general. “Therefore, the responsibility on your shoulders is greater than you could ever imagine.”
“Turning your backs on the people who voted you into this house will be tantamount to turning your backs on God’s anointing,” the King said.Having closed the page on the seventh Parliament, the King added, it was time to “reflect on the past”. “We need to stop, look back and
reflect on the road we’ve walked to this point. “Most importantly is that we have improved the channels through which MPs enter parliament.” “What I’m referring to is our system of voting which is a mixture of constituency and a party’s popular votes. Due to this improved style of voting, today and for the first time in Lesotho’s history we have a coalition government.”
According to the King, the opening of parliament meant that time to work and pass laws for the next five years of the life of parliament “has truly arrived”. “Your work includes passing laws and implementing plans for the advancement of this country especially the growth of the economy,” the King said. “The plans include also the eradication of poverty, job creation, fighting against hazardous diseases and
improving the lives of women, youth and the general public.” “Therefore, the public’s expectation is that you monitor government all the time and ensure that it executes its duties satisfactorily. “The only way you can monitor government is if you get reports frequently,” the King said.
The King also expressed gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for building the new parliament building for Lesotho.
“It is with a deep sense of gratitude and pride that today we conduct this state opening of parliament in this magnificent facility,” the King said.
“Through long standing friendship and mutual support between our two nations, this gift was made possible.” Basotho people, the King added, were truly thankful “for this new home of Lesotho’s legislature”. National Assembly Speaker Sephiri Motanyane announced said august House would officially convene for its first sitting on September 11.
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