Court challenge stalls parliament recall



MASERU – The National Assembly has failed to proceed with the resumption of the reforms process as proposed by Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the National Assembly Justice Nthomeng Majara. Majara had written a letter to the National Assembly Speaker requesting that the House be recalled from the winter break so that Parliament can reinstate the eleventh amendment to the Constitutional Bill, 2022 from the stage it had reached at the dissolution of the tenth Parliament.

However, the House was only able to sit for two days (Monday and Tuesday) and was adjourned until August 22 following a court case filed by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho Chapter, Yearn for Economic Sustainability (YES) and journalist-cum-activist Kananelo Boloetse challenging the reinstatement of the omnibus bill in its current state.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Matlhonolofatso Mosena said since there is a case challenging continuation of the reforms, the House will only be able to work on the matter after the court has delivered its ruling on the matter. The letter written by Majara titled ‘Request for special meeting of the National Assembly (recall of Parliament during adjournment)’ reads:

“I write on behalf of the government to request you to facilitate the recall of Parliament from its current adjournment to come and debate and hopefully pass the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitutional Bill, 2022.

“In the past weeks the government has undertaken a numerous programme of consultative meetings.  We met all key stakeholders to prepare the ground for the smooth passing of the Bill referred to above, that one is now convinced that justice have been done to this process and that the time is now right for the Bill to be debated and passed in Parliament.

“Mighty Honorable speaker, the national reforms are intended to anchor a future Lesotho which is politically stable, safe and just. As you recall, the national reforms agenda is under “The transformation of the kingdom of Lesotho to a just, prosperous and stable country, marked by effective and people centered institutions, unity of purpose, the rule of law, good governance and human rights”. “It is the view of the government based on the above agenda that the Public interest will best be served by having the meeting of the Parliament hence the request to call a special meeting of Parliament”.

Her request was granted and the Parliament was recalled on Monday, only to be adjourned on Tuesday without doing the business it was called for owing to the court case. Applicants to the case are MISA, YES and Boloetsi while respondents are the Speaker of the National Assembly, the president of the Senate, the Clerk of the National Assembly, His Majesty the King Letsie III, Attorney General, Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs, The Senate and Parliament.

Represented by Advocate Mpeli Mohlabula, the applicants challenge reinstatement the Omnibus Bill from where the 10th Parliament left it.

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