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New MPs to be sworn in Wednesday

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — New MPs will be sworn in on Wednesday when the eighth parliament convenes for the first time.
The induction of MPs will then set the platform for the formation of a coalition government after last Saturday’s election resulted in a hung parliament.
The DC won 48 seats in the election of a 120-member parliament.
The All Basotho Convention (ABC) acquired 30 seats, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 26, Basotho National Party (BNP) five, with the rest of the seats being split among smaller parties.
The ABC, LCD and BNP have formed a coalition that has 61 seats, enough to form a government.
The resolution to convene parliament this week was made by political party leaders at a meeting organised by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) at the UN House on Friday.
Attending the meeting were, among others, the DC’s Monyane Moleleki, the ABC’s Tom Thabane, the BNP’s Thesele ’Maseribane, the LCD’s Mothetjoa Metsing, the PFD’s Lekhetho Rakouane, the LPC’s Kelebone Maope, the NIP’s Kimetso Mathaba, the LWP’s Sello Maphalla, the MFP’s Moeketse Malebo, BCP’s Thulo Mahlakeng and the WHP’s Mohau Thakaso.
When the lower house of Lesotho convenes on Wednesday its business will be restricted to the swearing in of MPs and the appointment of the speaker as well as the deputy speaker of the national assembly.
The deputy national assembly clerk will preside over the induction of MPs instead of clerk Lebohang Ramohlanka.
This is because all political leaders agreed that Ramohlanka, who contested last month’s national assembly election and is a PR candidate of the Democratic Congress (DC), was not fit to conduct the process because she “has been tainted by politics”.
Ramohlanka resigned from her position as the national assembly clerk to contest elections in the Matelile constituency and was number 24 on the DC PR list.
However, Ramohlanka is said to have officially resumed her duties on May 24, just two days before the national poll.
Metsing expressed concern that if Ramohlanka was allowed to preside over the meeting, she would advance her own party’s agenda at the expense of other parties.
“When did she come back? Was that position ever advertised? We need to know. My opinion therefore is that Wednesday’s business be conducted by the deputy clerk,” Metsing said.
“The clerk has already been tainted by politics and I doubt other MPs will accept her.”
“I solely agree with the view that the day’s business should be handled by deputy national assembly clerk because ’M’e Ramohlanka has been tainted by politics,” Moleleki said in support of Metsing’s proposal.
The meeting was also for political leaders to express their opinion on the outcome of the May 26 election and say if they accepted the final poll results.
After agreeing that the election was free, fair and transparent, the leaders signed a statement in which they praised the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and undertook to respect the will of the people.
“We express our gratitude to the IEC for their delivery of an election that we recognise as a true reflection of the will of the Basotho people,” the statement read
“We commend and thank the people of Lesotho for their exemplary conduct in this election. We thank the many international partners who have contributed generously in a variety of ways to assist Lesotho in achieving a successful election.”
The statement also recognised the role played by the CCL’s heads of churches “for their guidance and support”.
“We commit ourselves anew to honour and support the principles enshrined in our national constitution to guide us in this time of transition,” the statement read.

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