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Tempers flare in parly


’Marafaele Mohloboli

CHAOS rocked Parliament as it reopened on Friday, with some government and opposition legislators shoving and choking each other, prompting the police to enter the august house to keep the peace.

Tempers flared after Democratic Congress (DC) spokesperson and Malingoaneng legislator, Serialong Qoo, accused National Assembly Speaker Sephiri Motanyane of being biased against the opposition.

Mr Qoo accused Mr Motanyane of disregarding the opposition’s motion to debate remarks by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to the effect that the police should assault suspects when no one was looking.

The opposition had submitted the motion before parliament adjourned sine die (for an indefinite period) in August this year.

Mr Qoo argued that Mr Motanyane was partly responsible for the “killing of innocent people” by ruling that the matter was not urgent.

The police have since refuted the opposition’s allegations and stressed that the law enforcement agency respected the rights of suspects to humane treatment.

Dr Thabane’s spokesperson, Thabo Thakalekoala, said in a previous interview that the premier was quoted out context as part of a smear campaign against him. Mr Thakalekoala said Dr Thabane had actually urged police to be more vigorous in their law-enforcement duties to restore law and order in Lesotho.

Mr Qoo also blamed Mr Motanyane for the fleeing to exile of Lesotho Congress leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, his deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi and DC deputy leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu.

The trio skipped the country in August this year citing tip-offs from “trusted sources” about plots to assassinate them and alleged persecution by the government.

However, the government has denied the allegation of persecuting the opposition, but stressed that it would not hesitate to prosecute anyone implicated in crimes. Mr Mokhosi was arrested on 28 August this year and charged with the murder of Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng along with four police officers before he skipped the country.

“The police brutality is all your fault. You are doing the bidding of the government. We have sked you to ask the prime minister to retract his utterances and you have not done that. You are the cause of Lesotho’s troubles. Where are you taking this parliament to, and where are you taking this country to?” charged an irate Mr Qoo.

Mr Motanyane’s pleas for Mr Qoo to sit down went unheeded, and an altercation ensued between legislators from the governing coalition and the opposition.

All Basotho Convention Lithabaneng #36 legislator and Social Development Minister, ’Matebatso Doti, tried in vain to restrain MPs from both sides as they shoved and choked each other while hurling insults.

Mr Motanyane eventually suspended proceedings for almost an hour. When the session resumed, police officers were now stationed in the National Assembly prompting DC Secretary-General and Lebakeng legislator Semano Sekatle to propose the adjournment of the sitting to allow tempers to cool off.

Mr Motanyane concurred, and adjourned the house until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the recently elected legislators for Hololo, Teyateyaneng and Thupa-Kubu constituencies, Tlokotsi Manyooko, Maliehe Maliehe and Tšeliso Kalake respectively were sworn-in during the session.

The trio were voted in through by-elections held on 30 September 2017  prompted by the deaths of three candidates in the constituencies ahead of the 3 June 2017 National Assembly elections.





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