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Sekhamane warns opposition


’Marafaele Mohloboli

FOREIGN Affairs and International Relations Minister Tlohang Sekhamane has warned opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) of harsher punishments if they continued disrupting proceedings in the National Assembly.

Addressing a press conference this past week, Mr Sekhamane said should the opposition MPs not change their “unruly” behaviour each time they disagreed with issues raised in the august house, National Assembly Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai would be left with no option but to take action against them.

Ms Motsamai suspended four All Basotho Convention MPs for a week on Tuesday for heckling Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili as he tabled the SADC Commission of Inquiry report on Monday.

Dr Mosisili was unable to finish his speech during the reopening of the National Assembly after opposition legislators broke into song and dance accusing the premier of doctoring the 62-page report. Following the four’s ouster, other opposition MPs also walked out of the House in solidarity with their colleagues.

“If the opposition MPs come back to Parliament and exhibit the same tendencies as this week, when some of their members were ordered to leave the House, they will get the same punishment for being disruptive,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is that should they choose to leave, we will proceed with the scheduled parliamentary business.

“We will continue with the budgetary allocations as if nothing has happened. They did that for months on end and that won’t be a problem.”

Mr Sekhamane said they expected to see progress being made after the 55 opposition MPs from the ABC, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho suspended their boycott of the august house to attend the tabling of the SADC Commission report.

“We were quite happy to see the opposition members’ return to the House and thought there would be some progress. But alas! We were wrong,” he said.

“If they continue with the same behaviour, they should expect the same punishment. Perpetrators could be suspended for an even longer time depending on what they do.

“I pray that they come back changed people. I pray to God that they won’t be repeat such behaviour.”

The minister said the electorate should tell their representatives to go to Parliament and do what they were elected to do rather than boycotting the august house.

“Voters should urge MPs and their leaders to go to the National Assembly and do what is expected of them. Boycotting the House won’t help them in any way,” said Mr Sekhamane.

“They should be brave, patient and obey the orders that govern Parliament. They should fight the government in Parliament and not in the media like they are doing.”

Contacted for comment, ABC deputy leader Tlali Khasu said it would not be the first time that the government wanted to sideline the opposition.

“If they carry out that threat, it would not be the first budget they present the budget in that fashion. In fact, that is what they are famous for and those are their true political colours,” said Mr Khasu.

“They specialise in petty politics and can proceed as they wish. After, all they have been doing so for the past 15 years and there’s nothing new about that.”

Normally, the national budget is presented in February, except for last year when it was presented in May following the change of the government after the 28 February 2015.


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