RFP’s Puseletso threatens to sue ‘rebel’ MEC MP


. . . issues ultimatum on PR legislator

. . . tells him ‘you live in a glass house’


MASERU – Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) Lejone Puseletso has threatened to file a lawsuit against Movement for Economic Change (MEC) MP Motlalepula Khahloe for aligning with the opposition pact seeking to oust Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane through a no-confidence motion. Khahloe signed his name on the list of opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) who backed a motion of no confidence against Matekane. They submitted their names to the Speaker of National Assembly Tlohang Sekhamane and informed him of their support for a new government that was to be headed by Democratic Congress (DC) leader Mathibeli Mokhothu.

The list was also attached to an affidavit opposing Puseletso’s application to have a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Matekane deferred but Puseletso wants Khahloe to withdraw his name from the list. Puseletso is threatening to petition the court to declare that Khahloe should no longer remain an MP if he does not withdraw his name. He says Khahloe violated provisions of the National Assembly Electoral Act of 2011 when he appended his signature among those backing the motion despite the fact that his party MEC is part of government and he is a Proportional Representative (PR) member.

Section 188 (3) of the National Assembly Act No. 14 of 2011 provides that a member of National Assembly allocated a seat by proportional representation shall vacate the seat if he or she resigns as a member, resigns from the political party under which the member was elected, crosses the floor, dies or becomes disqualified for being a member under the Act.

Puseletso insists that Khahloe violated the Act when he appended his signature along with 61 MPs who sought to topple Matekane. He says in terms of the Act, Khahloe lost his status as a Member of Parliament. “You shall realise that in terms of the provisions of the above quoted section you have lost your status as a Member of Parliament the moment you attached your signature to the said letter,” Puseletso said. His lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati, said: “Client demands that you withdraw your name from the said list formally by writing a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly to that effect on or before Friday 10th November,”

In the event that Khahloe refuses to withdraw his name, Puseletso says he will take that Khahloe has crossed the floor and therefore forfeited his status as an MP who got into Parliament through Proportional Representation. “Client demands that you should unequivocally state that you shall vote with government in the motion of no confidence because of the precarious nature of your position. Client instructs to remind you of the phrase: he who lives in a glass house should not throw stones,” the letter furthers states. 

By this phrase, Puseletso says Khahloe cannot be seen to be taking the position he took in Parliament for he entered Parliament through a compensatory seat that belongs to his party, MEC, adding that his freedom of association has limitations.

The letter concluded by calling on the MEC legislator to swiftly act on the demands, failing which he, Puseletso will approach the court to declare that “Motlalepula Khahloe MP is no longer a Member of Parliament I terms of section 188 (3) due to signing a letter with 60 fellow MPs that he is joining new coalition government.”   

Puseletso also said he will ask the court to direct the Speaker of the National Assembly to swear in the next person on the MEC Proportional Representation list.

Puseletso approached the court about a month ago to challenge a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane’s government a few hours before the motion was due to be debated. He asked the court to defer the motion against Matekane until the conclusion of reforms process in which Parliament shall promulgate provisions to regulate the passing of a vote of no confidence. He also wants the court to nullify the 9th amendment to the constitution which basically removed an option where a sitting Prime Minister had to call for elections when confronted with a motion of no confidence.

He says the amendment violates the basic structure of the constitution. Puseletso says when section 87(5) (a) of the constitution was amended and removed the power of the Prime Minister under the old section to opt for dissolution of parliament in the event of the vote of no confidence being passed, the process has infringed on not only the Prime Minister’s rights to advise the King to dissolve the parliament but also the right of members of the public to participate in determining their own government.

 “The right to be exercised in forming government has been given exclusively to the members of parliament who no longer get fresh mandate but decide on blank cheque by themselves as to who should be the Prime minister contrary to how the electorate had elected.”

For as long as the situation prevails, pending the promulgation of the Reforms Act and extensive amendments to the constitution, Puseletso claims that there is violation to the basic structure of the constitution provided for in section 1 of the constitution.

He adds that there “was also a flaw in the manner in which the process leading to the complete amendment was embarked upon as section 87 of constitution is not capable of being divorced from section 86. Section 86 spells out the executive authority of Lesotho while section 87 spells out how that authority can be exercised. I submit that in the premises, the basic structure of the constitution has been violated”.

Khahloe’s signature emerged as opposition opposed the application wherein they signed to indicate their support for a proposed new government that was to be formed after passing a motion of no confidence against Matekane. The case remains pending before the court which is expected to deliver judgment today on whether it has jurisdiction to hear Puseletso’s application.

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