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Parly session hangs in the balance

by Sunday Express
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Bongiwe Zihlangu

The first sitting of the 11th parliament which had been pencilled in for Tuesday now hangs in the balance. This after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) requested a postponement to enable it to correct its mistakes with regards to the allocation of some proportional representation (PR) seats.

The Clerk of Parliament, Fine Maema, was not reachable yesterday to say whether the sitting would go ahead as initially planned.

In a memorandum on Friday, Advocate Maema had informed incoming legislators that His Majesty, King Letsie III had ordered the newly elected parliament to convene on Tuesday. This would be its first session since the National Assembly elections on 7 October this year.

“Following the publication of the election results by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) under Legal Notice No. 100 of 2022, dated 13th October, you are kindly informed that His Majesty King Letsie III has summoned the special meeting of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Lesotho, to meet on Tuesday 25 October 2022 at 10am at Parliament Buildings, Maseru,” Advocate Maema states in his memo.

Although Adv Maema’s memo is silent on the business of the day, the norm has always been that the National Assembly’s first sitting is dedicated to the swearing-in of the newly elected members of parliament (MPs) and the election of a new speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

Once this has been done, the MPs are then expected to nominate a candidate for appointment by His Majesty as prime minister.

All indications are that Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane, whose party won 56 out of 80 constituencies will be nominated by the majority of MPs for appointment as premier in line with the constitution.

Mr Matekane will then be sworn in on Friday at Setsoto Stadium. He will lead a coalition which also includes the Alliance of Democrats (five seats) and Movement for Economic Change (four seats).

His elevation to prime minister will complete Mr Matekane’s meteoric rise from very humble beginnings, first to the pinnacle of business, and now the highest political office in the land. His inauguration also marks the first time, since independence from Britain in 1966, a non-career politician has become prime minister.

Commenting on Mr Matekane’s victory in his first election, National University of Lesotho political science lecturer, Tlohang Letsie, said his new party won because the electorate was fed up with the political status quo.

“The votes came from a place of anger … The election outcome is a clear message to all political parties that when people choose them to govern, they expect them to deliver,” he said.

Matekane’s “incoming government must deliver, the people’s expectations must be met,” Letsie said.

Several other analysts expressed similar views, saying most Basotho had become disillusioned with career politicians who have destroyed the country while feathering their own nests.

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