Africa-Press – Lesotho. The National Assembly’s business was earlier cut short over the walkout staged by both government and opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) over the “conduct” of the Deputy Speaker Lebohang Ramohlanka.
The boycotting of the business of the house happened during the debates over the amendments in the Local Government Bill, 2016. Qalo No.4 MP Hon. Thabang Kholumo said the Deputy Speaker does not “listen” to them
and “heed their guidance”. Clause 30 (1) of the Bill proposes the empowerment of the Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship to unilaterally dissolve the council and it was debated upon
yesterday. Yesterday some views said it was not democratic and the Minister should act on the public grievances such as petition necessitating the issue to
be voted for and the majority voted for the passage of the clause. It reads: “Wherever by reason of the refusal, failure or inability of a Local Assembly to adequately discharge all or any of its functions, the Minister
considers it necessary or expedient in the interest of local administration to do so [set up Committee to investigate the reasons for refusal/failure/inability or suspend all Councillors].
Clause 31 reads: “Where the Minister has reason to believe that maladministration, fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring
in a Council, the Minister may institute an inquiry into the matter. ” Hon Kholumo argued that 31 is democratic saying they are similar. He said Section
31 “answers” Section 30. He said clause 30 ought to be committed fearing that
this Bill may pass without having effected the changes. Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) Deputy Leader said they will ensure that there is a recommittal of the clause in question.
He further accused the Deputy Speaker of “failure” to see that clause 30 is being recommitted. “Her problem is she does not listen to us, she is supposed to heed our guidance as
Members,” Kholumo charged. During the tea break, the Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP) Leader Hon Tefo Mapesala was conversing with an MP who was participating via zoom saying Ramohlanka is doing
as she pleases. During the tea break, both government and opposition MPs regrouped and decided to bunk the proceedings and consequently break the quorum.
After the short recess, MP for Likhetlane Hon Lekhetho Mosito stood with a point of order that the MPs inside the house and who are participating via zoom should
be counted to determine if they form a quorum. The point of order was taken and the Deputy Speaker who was sitting as the Chairperson of the committee ordered
that the bell be ranged physically and virtually to attract the attention of the Members’ participation and upon being counted they failed to make a quorum.
According to the standing order of the National Assembly, the quorum is formed by 30 members. The Bill did not pass and it will be dealt during tomorrow’s sitting.