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TRC lambasts security chiefs at AU

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Staff Reporter

A local advocacy group, Transformation Resources Center (TRC), has strongly criticized the heads of security agencies at the 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, currently underway in Tanzania.

Advocates Mokitimi TÅ¡osane and Mabela Lehloenya, representing TRC, highlighted the inherent instabilities and threats of ousting coalition governments in Lesotho due to shifts in the political landscape since the advent of coalition politics.

The dou made mention of the fate facing the current government, under Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, who is facing a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, a mere year after assuming power.

Their key concern however, is on the public statement issued by Commissioner of Police, Holomo Molibeli, alongside the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, and the Director General of the National Security Services (NSS) Pheello Ralenkoane on October 16, 2023—the very day a no-confidence motion was tabled in the National Assembly.

In this statement, Commissioner Molibeli asserted that no change of government would occur in Parliament, suggesting that such would be going against the wishes of the people.

“TRC holds that the heads of the security institutions cannot decree what politicians should or should not do in exercising their constitutional powers in parliament,” Tšosane and Lehloenya said in a statement.

“The TRC is particularly concerned at the intrusion of security institutions in the legitimate political process and governance, which is prohibited by the Constitution and contravenes core rule of law principles concerning the respective functions of the said agencies and members of parliament in the National Assembly,” they added.

Furthermore, they pointed out that such interference violates the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, adopted by African Union (AU) Member States, which underscores the importance of the rule of law based on the respect for, and supremacy of, the Constitution and constitutional order in political arrangements.

Highlighting that the rule of law and respect for the national Constitution remains paramount, even as elected representatives deliberate on the future of the current Government of Lesotho and the Prime Minister, they urged national security institutions to “refrain from any further activity that may interfere, intimidate, or intrude into functions of governance that are within the proper constitutional purview of members of parliament”.

The motion of no confidence, introduced earlier this month by Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Machesetsa Mofomobe, seeks the removal of Matekane and the appointment of opposition leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, as his successor.

However, the motion encountered a significant obstacle last week Monday when the ruling Revolution for Prosperity’s (RFP) MP, Puseletso Lejone, filed a petition with the High Court, aiming to defer the process and challenging the constitutionality of the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution.

Lejone’s argument is rooted in the belief that the amendment infringes upon the fundamental framework of the Constitution.

Additionally, he advocated for a postponement of any parliamentary action related to the vote of no confidence until a comprehensive regulatory framework is established through the ongoing reform process.

This sudden development brought the National Assembly to a standstill, with Speaker Tlohang Sekhame emphasising the need to uphold the integrity of legal processes, citing past instances where similar circumstances led to the suspension of proceedings.

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