Pressure groups decry delays in parliament


. . . as House breaks for winter


MASERU – Naka La Mohlomi and the Bachashutdown movement have contested the tabling of the 10th and 11th Amendment Bills to the Constitution.Despite being tabled a month ago, there has been a delay in planning. The two bills were presented on May 6 by the Minister of Justice, Law, and Parliamentary Affairs, Richard Ramoeletsi, in the National Assembly.

In an interview with Public Eye this week, Naka La Mohlomi Co-Founder Moorosi Moshoeshoe expressed concern over the delay in planning since the tabling of the two bills in Parliament. He said a month has passed without progress, particularly noting that one of the bills requires a two-thirds majority and a referendum. Moshoeshoe criticised the Parliament and the Government for the way they handled the matter, adding that Parliament will close for winter holidays on Friday.

“We are pressuring them to work on the bills to ensure they are passed. Both the Parliament and the Government have been silent on the issue. What we need more than anything is for the Government to pass the two bills before the winter recess,” Moshoeshoe said. He drew parallels to a similar situation in 2022, when the bills were tabled but faced delays, resulting in a last-minute, unsuccessful effort by the 10th Parliament.

Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane concurs that the organisations are right to pressure the Government to pass the bills. However, he pointed out that the bills are still before the Law and Public Safety cluster and have not yet been addressed. Rakuoane also noted that discussion of the bills is unlikely to occur soon, as they are awaiting court proceedings involving the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which indicate that certain chapters of the bills will remain unchanged.

In their statement dated May 27, they noted that this is the third time this year they have embarked on the journey of national reform processes. “In the past, we commended the Government for having the courage to table the 10th and 11th Amendments to the Constitution on May 6. As mediators, we are here again to remind the National Assembly members that the responsibility is now in their hands. We plead with them to ensure they remove the burden of being known as a country that creates good things but cannot accomplish them.

“This time, we urge political party leaders, institutions, and individual public organisations, especially those that were part of the National Reform Authority (NRA), to complete the work they pledged to accomplish. “Reflecting on the progress made, we realise that on May 27, 2022, about 14 political parties in the 10th Parliament signed a pledge to pass the NRA Omnibus Bill by the end of June 2022.

“This pledge was not fulfilled, and many other promises have similarly fallen through,” the statement read. The statement further elaborated that at the end of the 10th Parliament, despite parliamentarians working hard to pass the bill, their efforts were too late.

When the 10th Parliament term ended without passing the bill, the then Minister of Justice and Law declared that the country was in a bad state and that funders were demanding reforms. Amid this confusion, the 10th Parliament was convened outside the law to pass Act #15, 2022. This and subsequent actions made the country a laughing stock.

“We hope that this time around, Members of Parliament (MPs) will address this issue with a different approach. It would be wise to tackle the matter as a unified team, building together rather than undermining the concept of the reforms. “We recall the words of an opposition leader during the closing of the second forum of the reforms on November 27, 2019: ‘We, however, wish to pledge full commitment and support to the process regardless of which side of the Speaker’s chair we will be sitting on in the next few days.’ This is the right approach for Parliament today,” the statement concluded.

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