Parliament convenes as planned

  • IEC sought to interdict this week’s parly session
  • The elections body wants to recalculate the allocated PR seats

LITEBOHO MOLEKO

MASERU – The sitting of the 11th parliament which was scheduled for Tuesday this week proceeded as planned as per the high court ruling on Saturday.This, after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had earlier filed an urgent application seeking an order interdicting the special parliament session.

In her ruling, Justice ’Mafelile Ralebese ordered the process to go ahead with the Democratic Congress (DC) still holding its 29 seats and the Alliance of Democrats (AD) its five seats as previously allocated, pending the finalisation of the matter.
The court declared the application urgent, adding that the Constitutional Court would hear the matter on Friday this week.

At the twist of events, the hearing was, however, postponed until Friday November 4, to pave way for the inauguration of the new Prime Minister, Sam Matekane this Friday.The Tuesday meeting also elected former Government Secretary, Principal Secretary and Minister for Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Tlohang Sekhamane, the new Speaker of the National Assembly.In the same session, deputy leader of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), Tšepang Tšita-Mosena was elected the Deputy Speaker of the House.New Members of Parliament (MPs) were also sworn-in in that meeting.

The IEC had approached the court seeking an order interdicting the summoning of the special meeting of the National Assembly scheduled for Tuesday.The IEC also sought an order reviewing, correcting and setting aside the allocation of some of the compensatory seats following the October 7 general elections.The IEC says it erroneously allocated 11 PR seats instead of 8 to the DC.It further contends that it mistakenly allocated three PR seats instead of two to the AD.

The elections authority has, therefore, sought permission to recalculate the PR seats that are due to the parties that contested the elections and reallocate them accordingly.Speaking to Public Eye during the swearing ceremony at the National Assembly on Tuesday AD deputy leader, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, said the issue of the allocation of seats is still being considered by the courts of law – but as a party are waiting for the court’s decision. He, though, that even if one of the allocated PR seats is deducted from the four they were awarded this will not affect the coalition government agreement they already entered into with the RFP and the MEC.

“It is unfortunate that the IEC seems to have made such a mistake, if it is indeed a mistake, but we are waiting for the court’s decision with regard to this – but in general we are pleased to be part of government in the 11th parliament,” Professor Rapapa stated.Public Eye further sought the views of the new Speaker of the House on the work ahead, and Sekhamane said: “Our country is in a bad state financially, and this means we have no time to concentrate on ourselves but to work extra hard to see to it that the country recovers from this state.”

Lesotho Congress for Democracy leader, Mothejoa Metsing, for his part indicated that his party’s expectation from the ruling government is for them to make changes and strategies regarding the financial crisis that we are facing.“People vote and gave us power to see to it that we solve these issues, we will assist each other to see to it that this situation changes.”His stalwart, Mamello Phooko, on the hand said: “This 11th parliament is very strong in my perception, I think it will be very good and vital that there are more men than women because that will make us, women, come to the parliament more prepared.

We are lucky because the 11th parliament has announced the development of the country as an emergency, this shows that people are ready for Lesotho to move forward.”MP for Moselinyane, Dada Jooma, pointed that too that as RFP members, they have achieved what they needed because they have worked hard to see that they win elections in their constituencies even though not all were bagged as hoped and expected. Jooma added that despite setback, they were satisfied that they have elected a speaker and a deputy speaker that they wanted.“It is truly a great honour,” he said.

 Mohlomi Moleko of the RFP could not hide his optimism when saying: “We are ready to work for this country and we promise to fulfil our people’s wishes to see a change in this country. We have told ourselves that we will not deceive the nation as most of us RFP legislators are not politicians, we just united to change our country for the better.”Liteboho Kompi of the MEC said: “Representation of women and youth in this 11th parliament still remains low; they are not well represented. And this leads to their interests not being heard. We need young blood in the parliament because they also face challenges that they can well address when in here.”

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