March 14, 2022
Maseru-The Deputy Prime-Minister and leader of co-ruling Democratic Congress (DC) Mathibeli Mokhothu says they will use passage of budgetary estimates as a yardstick with which to show their unwavering support for the current embattled coalition government against the wishes of their detractors who want to see it premature collapse.
This Mokhothu said as he backed his boss and fellow coalition partner Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro today, as they reaffirmed that the ruling coalition still has the necessary numbers to maintain its hold onto the reins of power.
About a fortnight ago, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) at whose helm Majoro sat as Deputy Leader until after the January National Executive Committee (NEC) elections in which he had contested for the number one post which was, however, snatched by former cabinet minister Nkaku Kabi who is Member of Parliament for the Qeme constituency, sought to withdraw the partyâ€™s membership to the coalition government in move to pull the government carpet from under Majoroâ€™s feet as he refused to vacate the premiership for his new party leader.
However, the expected collapse of government which would have arisen as a result of the announcement by a faction of the ABC loyal to Kabi, aly in stalemate as the Speaker of the National Assembly Sephiri Motanyane had directed that those members of the ABC intent on withdrawing their party should vacate the government side seats which did not happen.
Now Majoro and Mokhothu came out to announce that the ABC-DC pact with the support of other minority parties such as the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), Basotho National Party (BNP), Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independent Party (NIP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) have reaffirmed their numbers to maintain the status quo as they have numbers adding up to 66 parliamentary seats which is some five seats over the requisite 61 which is 50%+1 seat to secure grip on government.
â€œNational Assembly normally has 120 seats and currently has 115. Of those the government enjoys the numbers of parties after the following fashion: ABC has 21 seats, DC has 29, MEC has five, PFD three, BNP four, while BCP, NIP, RCL and MFP) have one apiece which makes a total of 66 seats, meaning that this government is more than solid,â€ Mokhothu told the media to ululations of the party loyalists who had gate-crushed the media briefing held at the New State House in Maseru.
â€œThe budget will pass smoothly as we continue to seek support from other parties,â€ Mokhothu added, referring to the budgetary estimates whose presentation was disrupted by the ABC withdrawal announcement.
â€œThey wrote a letter to parliament which was read by the Speaker who had then directed that those who want to pull out of government should demonstrate that by walking to the opposition side but none did. By virtue of failing to cross the floor, they have nullified their letter unless they are willing to write another one. We are going to demonstrate the confidence for this government by passing the national budget,â€ he said.
Majoro said they have heard that a group of people are holding surreptitious meetings, plotting to overthrow the current regime by opposing passage of the national budget as well as concocting a motion of no confidence.
â€œOver the past few days, we heard gossip that this government is shaky as some people want to topple it. There are secret meetings held with the same plots to overthrow the current government. The law is very clear and guides that if some Members of Parliament do not support the government they should show that by numbers,â€ he said.
He said their gathering was meant to tell the confused public that the government will continue until the next elections set for about September later this year.
â€œWestminster system works with numbers and our numbers are convincing hence we avow that we will defend our government when the motion of no confidence is tabled in parliament soon. â€œWe had a predicament of budget speech being unable to pass. I vow that the budget will pass as well as the 11th amendment of the constitution which has been completed by the National Reforms Authority (NRA),â€ he said.