Africa-Press – Lesotho. Qhalasi No. 57 Member of Parliament (MP) Hon Palo Leteetee has challenged the ongoing virtual sitting which the National Assembly had adopted since last
year. The hybrid sitting was adopted as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic and also health protocols that bar voluminous gatherings.
In February last year the Parliament adopted hybrid sitting arrangements which were said to be in line with the COVID-19 Legal Notice No.6 of 2021. Then
the Speaker said: “A few of our MPs, including Ministers, are casualties and thank God they survived. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and health protocols maintain that we can minimise the risk of infection if we adhere to
three well-known principles of maintaining social distancing at all times; wearing masks when in public space; and washing and/or sanitising hands frequently.
“Hon Members may wish to recall that… it is a sine qua non [very essential] that the House sits to perform its constitutional mandate. This
notwithstanding does not imply that the lives of Hon Members and parliamentary staff do not matter. It simply means that it is incumbent upon the Speaker as
the head of the National Assembly and the Leader of the House as the Minister responsible for the welfare of the Members to strike a balance between conducting the business of the House and saving lives of MPs and staff.
” Hon Leteetee said the house “no longer has the image” this he said in reaction to a
few members who were physically present during the proceedings while others had joined the proceedings virtually. He further warned the Speaker that he will be alone in the house one day.
Echoing similar sentiments, Malimong No. 22 MP Hon Leshoboro Mohlajoa said as Leteetee said, the situation which necessitated the hybrid sitting, has “waned” adding
that the MPs have been vaccinated as per the recent government mandatory vaccination policy. He then moved that the house should convene physically. Also,
the Alliance of Democrats (AD) proportional representative (PR) member Hon Mokhele Moletsane said that the Speaker was complaining about the poor attendance of the portfolio committees.
The Speaker had said the house cannot have fully-fledged physical sittings unless the COVID-19 restrictions are eased. He also told the lawmakers that for the house to suspend hybrid sitting, it has to
pronounce itself on the adopted model. “I cannot untangle the systems of the house. I am a servant in the house,” said the Speaker. With the hybrid model of conducting the business of the house, only 30 members are
allowed to attend the proceedings physically while the rest join via zoom. There is also a quota for four Ministers to attend, the government is expected to have 24 representatives while the opposition is allocated six seats.