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MPs must pay back loans, says Mosisili



MASERU – FORMER Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili wants all MPs who took out loans from the government to pay back the money.
MPs and Senators are entitled to M500 000 loans that are payable during the five-year tenure of Parliament.
However, the government has in the past few years taken the tab, paying back the MPs loans.

That has happened twice, in 2015 and in 2017, when the coalition governments collapsed before the end of their five-year tenure.
The decision to pay back the MPs’ loans has however angered the people who argue that the MPs are already well paid.

Mosisili was speaking at a parliamentary reforms meeting at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre on Monday.
He said rather than do away with the whole loan concept, he would rather push that all MPs repay their loans even when the government collapses before its five-year tenure.

Mosisili acknowledged the bitterness the issue of the MPs loans has generated among Basotho.
“The only problem with these loans is that when the government changes, all the loans are paid by the government even for those who are still in Parliament and are able to pay back the loans,” he said.

He insisted that they have to change the way they have been carrying out the process and to ensure that MPs who are still in Parliament pay back their loans.
Mosisili insisted that the loans should not be paid by the government.
Mosisili spoke after the Development For Peace Education (DPE) coordinator, Sofonea Shale, spoke on the matter.

Shale said Basotho have two different opinions on the issue of MPs’ loans with some saying the loans should be repaid no matter the circumstances while others are saying the loans should be scrapped because MPs already earn decent salaries.

Mabote MP, Fako Moshoeshoe, said the loans should not be stopped adding MPs were still earning lower salaries as compared to their counterparts in the region.
He said the loans supplement their low salaries especially because they work hard in Parliament.
Moshoeshoe said an attractive financial package will attract ‘educated’ people to become MPs.

Most of the MPs who spoke at the conference said the granting of loans should not be cancelled but they would rather repay the loans themselves.
The MPs’ defence of the loans triggered an uproar from Basotho who attended the meeting.

They were particularly not happy when the MPs defended a suggestion to annul the granting of the loans.
Amongst the observers, one woman who chose to remain anonymous, said she was naïve to think the MPs loved Basotho as they claimed.

“I do not see any love because you already have good salaries and yet you also want to continue taking these loans,” the woman said.
She said the sad news is that they as taxpayers are the ones who repay those loans even when they are financially bankrupt.

“We do not have anything but at least the MPs have good salaries. Why do you also want to take loans, this is not fair,” she said.
Another burning issue discussed at the meeting was the issue of floor crossing of MPs in Parliament.

Most Basotho said the MPs should not cross without their permission because they would have been elected on the basis of their political party affiliation.
They said the MPs must go back to their constituencies to seek clearance when they want to cross the floor.

They also demanded that individuals who aspire to be MPs and Senators must have good academic qualifications to allow them to appreciate matters that are to be discussed in Parliament.
They also called for the abolition of prorogation arguing it has not been used for the benefit of Basotho.

Basotho at the meeting picked the issue of the ‘vote of no confidence’ saying the culture of going to elections every now and then, impoverished the country.
They said if MPs no longer have any confidence in the Prime Minister, they should elect someone in Parliament to avoid dipping into the public purse to hold fresh elections.

Thooe Ramolibeli


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