MASERU – Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Teboho Lehloenya, faces yet another motion of no confidence.
All Basotho Convention (ABC) Koro-Koro constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Tumahole Lerafa, filed the motion on June 16 in the move seconded by Mankoe James Maime.
Speaking to this publication, Lerafa confirmed the developments, pointing out that they (National Assembly) could no more endure Lehloenya’s failure to efficiently execute the mandate of his office as he confuses the members and as a result restricts them in carrying out their own mandate as representatives of the people who elected them.
He alleged that the Deputy Speaker has some time now been unable to remain neutral and professional, favouring those with whose ideas he agreed; Lerafa said previous attempts to oust the Deputy Speaker have failed only he then enjoyed the protection of government.
“The man fails to control the House. All he does is argue with members instead of leading them, this creates havoc and we cannot tolerate such conduct.
His leadership also lacks transparency. Today (Thursday) when the House elected members to the House Business Committee he chose five members from the ABC, one from the Democratic Congress (DC), two from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and two from the Alliance of Democrats…which is out of order per Standing Orders on proportionality,” he said.
Lerafa articulated that Lehloenya’s leadership has brought nothing but shame and confusion on the august House, citing the incident in which the legislators exchanged blows and destroyed furniture in the National Assembly.
He said this, among others, shows his lack of capacity to lead the assembly.
In a separate interview with this reporter, Advocate Khotso Nthontho, also observed that the role of the Speaker and his deputy in the National Assembly was to lead the House and ensure that it followed procedure according to Standing Orders.
“Their role is to ensure that the assembly procedures are aligned with Standing Orders and control the debates, giving each member equal opportunities to participate in the debates.
They are not supposed to be part of the debate or take sides but should stay impartial. All they have to do is to listen to debates and give it to the house for liberations so that they can come to a decision,” Nthontho said.
He noted that since the duo is elected by all members of National Assembly and not just a certain party, they were supposed to serve them equally, and that if they favoured one side against the other they would be distorting the fundamentals of democracy.
He further noted that this was not the first time a motion of no confidence in the Deputy Speaker was initiated, adding that in previous attempts the motion failed to even go before National Assembly because then government was doing all in its power to protect him.
The motion comes after numerous complaints from MPs over the conduct of the Speaker, Sephiri Motanyane, and his deputy, Lehloenya.
Speaking to Public Eye on the matter previously DC deputy leader and current Minister of Home Affairs, Motlalentoa Letsosa, noted that the Speaker and his deputy were biased and rejected all opposition motions and opinions without following correct legal procedures.
“We do not know what we are going to do about this sad state of affairs, our option could be to seek court intervention and remove them from their positions – but that did not help us in a previous case where we wanted to remove Lehloenya from his position.
Motanyane, torpedoed the move arguing Lehloenya is a civil servant governed by the Labour Code, which is not true,” he said.
Letsosa said the Speaker and his deputy were supposed to be neutral to ensure stability in the National Assembly, but that their actions have proved otherwise and opted to conduct proceedings based on personal relations to protect their favourites.
Lesotho follows a Westminster system of government. In this system, the Speaker of the National control proceedings in the House; among their roles in the House is allowing members time to speak and express their views, ensure that members adhere to the rules of debates as required by Standing orders of the House, regulate the time allocated for debate and ensure that time is not wasted, to rule on any dispute as to the procedure to be followed by the House and to protect the right of the minority.