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MPs reject pay hike



MASERU – MPs on Monday rejected a proposal by a parliamentary portfolio committee to increase their salaries.
The decision was unprecedented as Lesotho’s MPs have a history of pushing an agenda to secure their parliamentary benefits and privileges.
The chairman of the portfolio committee on members’ benefits, Matlakeng MP, Lekhetho Mosito, stood up and pushed a motion to increase MPs salaries, an idea that quickly shot down by the MPs.
Mosito was never given a chance to state by what percentage the MPs salaries should be increased.

An MP currently earns slightly above M37 000 a month on top of a daily sitting allowance of M150 each.
The opposition MPs, supported by rebel members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) who have turned against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane refused to adopt the motion.
The National Independent Party (NIP) leader, Kimetso Mathaba, was the first to oppose the motion arguing it seemed to be unfair because the Minister of Finance, Dr Moeketsi Majoro, said all civil savants including MPs will get zero percent increase during his budget speech in February.

“So if we now adopt this motion it would be unfair because the civil servants have not got any increment,” Mathaba said.
He said it is very surprising that the committee brought those regulations in the House to be adopted when the government said it was broke and that there would be no salary increases during the 2018/2019 financial year.

Mathaba said a bump on their current salaries would mean MPs would be earning a lot of money when civil servants did not get any salary increase.
“So this means the House wants to increase the salaries for MPs only yet Dr Majoro said there was no money,” he said.
“This is not good and it’s unfair,” he said.

“Dr Majoro announced there is no money so be it.”
Mathaba said the motion was really not clear to the House and called on fellow MPs to reject it.
Even before Mathaba could finish his argument, the Minister of Water, Samonyane Ntsekele, suggested the motion should be returned back for review.
This was because Mathaba wanted Dr Majoro to be called to Parliament to explain the latest turn of events.
Dr Majoro was not present in Parliament to give his side of the story.

The Mahobong MP, Mothetjoa Metsing, who is also the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), said the motion had caused misunderstandings among MPs.
He said some people were saying it is the 2018 increment while others say it’s not.

“It will be like we have increased our own salaries yet parliament said there is no money,” Metsing said.
“So how about if this motion can be returned back so that we could decide whether we regularise the motion or not,” Metsing said.
He argued this would give parliament a very bad image in the eyes of the public.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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