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Citizens call the National Assembly to order


“We want this Honourable House to be disciplined and understand the principle separation of powers in Lesotho.”

Staff Reporter

Citizens cry foul of what they deem ‘erosion of democratic principles within the country’s governance’ in a scathing letter addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Tlohang Sekhamane.

The letter minces no words in highlighting the perceived departures from democratic norms.

The authors firmly assert that Lesotho, as a sovereign democratic nation, must be governed in strict adherence to the principles enshrined in its constitution.

Dated October 24 of this year, the letter was promptly received by the Speaker’s office on the same day.

It bears the signatures of Tlotliso Manko, Mohato Mabone, Paballo Molise, Anna Motumi, Mbuti Makara, Mosebo Mosebo, and Marosetsa Sebeso.

The missive also touches on the vital need for the National Assembly to grasp and uphold the fundamental concept of the separation of powers within the government.

It underscores the critical roles played by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, explaining that each branch is constitutionally empowered with specific responsibilities.

“We want this Honourable House to be disciplined and understand the principle separation of powers in Lesotho. The principle of separation of powers is important because it prevents any one branch from having too much power over the others,” the letter reads.

The authors take specific umbrage with “Standing Order No. 43(2)”, arguing that it presents a significant contradiction and should, consequently, be rendered null and void.

This standing order restricts parliamentarians from referencing matters under judicial consideration during their speeches. It states: “A member shall not refer to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending.”

This group of concerned citizens views the above-mentioned standing order as an affront to the principles of open discourse and parliamentary privileges.

The group’s further criticism is directed towards the heads of the nation’s security apparatus.

The letter sharply rebukes the security chiefs’ recent public statement, characterising it as “treasonous utterances” that undermine the very foundations of democracy.

It reads: “We are disgusted by the prevailing behavior of the heads of security that are entrusted with the protection of the Constitution and the law but have turned and are going against that.”

The group refers to a last week statement made by Commissioner of Police, Holomo Molibeli, the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, and the Director General of the National Security Service (NSS), where it is alleged that these officials indicated an intent to impede Members of Parliament (MPs) from executing their constitutional duties, such as removing Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane through a motion of no confidence.

The seven concerned citizens passionately contend that the constitution grants MPs the absolute right to cast votes of no confidence, asserting that any interference with this process amounts to a breach of constitutional law.

The letter concludes with a pointed reference to a recent incident in which a Member of Parliament, Teboho Mojapela, was reportedly arrested by police en route to the National Assembly.

The authors assert that such an act directly contravenes the “Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, which affords MPs legal immunity”.

Notably, Mojapela is also the leader of the opposition party, the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR).

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