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The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms. Ntlhoi Motsamai has urged all the political leaders not to burn the bridges, saying the oldest and most familiar adage says ‘there are neither permanent enemies nor permanent friends in politics’.

In her opening remarks of the fifth meeting of the first session of the ninth parliament at the new parliament premises on Friday, the Speaker said at times of irretrievably broken down relationships and or irreconcilable differences they tend to be upset with one another, forgetting that 'today's adversary may be tomorrows' ally.

After relating the events that occurred on November 22 on the day when the National Assembly adjourned sine die, she said as guardians of democracy, they have got to demonstrate their firm believe in politics as a battle of ideas.

“We hold that political power is to be exercised to make life nobler and happier,” she said.

The Speaker said their success should be judged by the quality of the individual, by his knowledge, his skills, his behaviour as a member of society, the standard of living one is able to enjoy and by the degree of harmony and brotherliness in their community life as a nation.

Speaking about the issue of security, which has occasionally been raised by some Members, complaining about excessive security measures in and around the precincts of Parliament, Ms. Motsamai made a plea to the members not to trivialise the matter, nor subject it to the political party differences in anyway whatsoever.

She said the issue of protection of Parliament, its members, its officials and all those who come to observe the proceedings remain paramount responsibility of the Speaker for the benefit of the nation at large.

“Thank God the Hon. Members are complaining about overprotection rather than lack thereof,” she highlighted.

She said life of every one of them is God's given and precious, adding that it has to be safeguarded by all means possible.

“Honourable. Members, we cannot turn a blind eye and pretend we are not aware of the impact and unintended consequences of the prevailing vitriolic political rivalries, where one's political supporters have become the arch enemies of the other,” she stressed.

The Speaker said as leaders of the people, they have to rise to the occasion, do the hard and honest work of dealing with the deepening political tensions.

Ms. Motsamai said they have to admit that life has thrown a curved ball at them and appreciate that unity does not fall from the sky.

She added that it was indisputable that the public has the right in parliamentary democracy to observe their legislature at work and to have reasonable access to their representatives.

“But at the same time, Members of Parliament also ought to work in environment where they feel safe and at ease,” she highlighted.

Meanwhile, the Speaker welcomed in the House, former Prime Minister, who is now the official Leader of the opposition and Leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, and Leader of Basotho National Party (BNP), Chief Thesele 'Maseribane as well as Ms. Keketso Rants'o  who is the leader of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL). 

The trio returned into the National Assembly after having been in exile in South Africa.

Again, the Speaker read letters she received from three newly formed political parties; Alliance of Democrats (AD) led by Mr. Monyane Moleleki (MP), Movement for Economic Change (MEC) led by Mr. Selibe Mochoboroane (MP) and True Reconciliation Unity (TRU) led Mr. Tlali Khasu (MP).

She said these new political parties have registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) while others are still on the process of doing so.

The Speaker ordered that since these parties have Members of Parliament, they have indicated that they would like to cross the floor to the opposition side and AD members led by Mr. Monyane Moleleki clad in their new party regalia crossed the floor to sit on the opposition side.

They were 14 members of Parliament while some who were also wearing the AD colours remained in the government side since they are members by virtue of Proportional Representation (PR).

Mr. Mochoboroane also crossed to sit at the cross bench and was also clad in a blue suit which is the dominant colour of MEC and Mr. Khasu as well as Member of parliament for Motimposo Mr. Pitso Maisa both left the opposition side to sit at the cross bench.

Meanwhile, the Speaker said she had received a notice of motion from Mr. Teboho Lehloenya of Kolo as well as Mr. Tsoinyane Rapapa of Mosalemane showing that they intend to propose a motion of no confidence to the Prime Minister and the Government.

She stated that the motion has duly been referred to the business committee according to the Standing Order No. 97.

The Speaker also confirmed that the budget speech will be delivered on Monday in which Finance Minister, Mr. Tlohang Sekhamane will present the 2017/18 financial estimates.

The Parliament reconvened after adjourning sine die on November 22 last year.

Source: LENA 24/02/2017

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