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Speaker takes swipe at noisy MPs

Caswell Tlali


MASERU — National Assembly Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai says she is embarrassed by MPs who cannot shut their mouths and concentrate during parliamentary sessions.

Motsamai gave MPs a tongue-lashing on Thursday when she observed that some MPs were busy chatting among themselves during the question time for ministers.

Motsamai said the noise was making it hard for her to hear when an MP asked a question or when a minister answered.

“I get embarrassed all the time,” Motsamai told the august House.

“The noise during business is unacceptable.

“It brings shame to this House especially when we have school children as visitors.

“Are we expecting those children to listen to their teachers when they have seen their grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers and mothers not concentrating in the House?”

MPs often shout at each and exchange jokes during important parliamentary business.

It’s common to hear bursts of laughter in the House when important issues are being discussed.

Some MPs actually doze off during sessions.

Then again, some of them have not said a word during parliamentary debates since they were elected in February 2007.

Jeremane Ramathebane, a member of the parliamentary privileges committee and leader of the Basotho Batho Democratic Party, told the Sunday Express in an interview that Motsamai was “talking nonsense”.

Ramathebane said Motsamai’s duty was “to call the House to order instead of expressing her embarrassment”.

“What she is talking is nonsense because a member who is addressing the house speaks in the microphone and is audible enough to everybody including those sitting in the public gallery,” Ramathebane said.

“Members who speak while sitting down do so when not putting their microphones on and they do not make noise,” he added.

“I think she (Motsamai) is losing her mind.”

Senkatana party leader and Mokhotlong MP Lehlohonolo Ts’ehlana however said it was “indeed embarrassing if MPs need to be reminded to be orderly like they were small children”.

“The speaker was right to express how embarrassed she was,” Ts’ehlana said.

“It is not proper for us as honourable members to be reminded to keep quiet to allow the House’s business to go by undisturbed.”

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