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LCD remains firm on reopening of parliament  


Bongiwe Zihlangu

THE Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) will not succumb to pressure from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) and reconsider its stance that Parliament must reconvene next Friday, the party’s secretary general, Tšeliso Mokhosi, has said.

According to Mr Mokhosi, Parliament, which was suspended for nine months on 10 June 2014 by ABC leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to avert a no-confidence vote in his premiership, must re-open on 19 September as recommended by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

However, after the three parties had been expected to announce the re-opening date last week, the ABC and BNP, instead, wrote a letter to the regional bloc insisting the country’s security issue had to be resolved first before the National Assembly could reconvene.

The ABC and BNP letter was written two days after South African President Jacob Zuma had left Lesotho after urging the three ruling parties, which formed a coalition government in June 2012, to agree on the re-opening date within 48 hours.

In their letter, the two parties argued Parliament would not re-open when Dr Thabane’s security was being provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, was refusing to step down despite his dismissal by the premier on 29 August 2014.

However, the LCD has since denounced the letter, insisting the party would stand firm on the agreement brokered by SADC in Pretoria early this month.

“Our position is firm; Parliament should open on 19 September and there’s no turning back. We will not compromise on that one at all,” said Mr Mokhosi, who is also the minister of Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs.

“We will never turn back because the premier has failed to honour so many agreements between our parties that I’ve lost count. He never lives up to expectations.

“Even the SADC heads of state involved in this impasse, will not turn on decisions made. The military situation was declared that it is not a crisis. Why doesn’t he just tell SADC he doesn’t want to open Parliament?”

Mr Mokhosi reiterated what he told the Sunday Express in previous interviews that the security issue was never part of the agreement made in Pretoria on 1 September, adding if the ABC and BNP thought Dr Thabane could get rid of Lt Gen Kamoli “just like that,” they were mistaken.

“There’s no way that Thabane will get rid of Lieutenant General Kamoli. Even now the world is shocked that he dissolved Maaparankoe Mahao’s court martial, reinstated it, only to dissolve it again,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“I therefore advise Mahao to take a step back; to think long and hard about his future. If they think they can just remove Kamoli just like that, they are joking.”

According to Mr Mokhosi, to even begin comparing Lt Gen Kamoli and Lt Gen Mahao, whom Dr Thabane made LDF commander after he fired the former, was a joke “because in terms of experience and age, those two are incomparable”.

“Kamoli is experienced in terms of military administration and well educated too, in comparison to Mahao, who might have gone to school but is still wet behind the ears,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“The PM just wants to abuse him because of his inexperience, advance his own agenda and destroy his future. He cannot do to the LDF what he did to the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).”

Mr Mokhosi further condemned the premier, who is also minister of Defence, Police and National Security, for appointing Commissioner of Police Khothatso Tšooana “to such a demanding position, which requires experience in the police force because he just put him there to use him”.

If the military was under any other person without the necessary experience during the current political turmoil, there would be mayhem, Mr Mokhosi said.

“But as you can see, the military is still intact because the man knows what to do and has maintained a dignified silence,” Mr Mokhosi said.

The LCD secretary general also criticised Dr Thabane for allegedly undermining Mr Metsing.

“The man had become used to abusing Mr Metsing and can’t believe he is retaliating now. For the two years that we have been in government together, he was underrating Metsing. But he has finally realised that Metsing is not as meek as he thought, and neither is he anybody’s walkover,” he said.

“It’s a pity that relations between the ABC and LCD have soured beyond repair.”

According to Mr Mokhosi, what was left was for the premier to admit that by refusing to open Parliament on 19 September under the pretence that it was not safe to do so, he was only delaying the inevitable.

“Thabane is running away from a possible no-confidence vote in parliament because he realises he has messed things up and that the LCD has lost faith in his leadership,” Mr Mokhosi said.


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