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Parliament business grinds to a standstill



MASERU-PARLIAMENTARY business ground to a halt on Tuesday as opposition MPs demanded the lifting of a suspension slapped on two of their colleagues.
The opposition said no parliamentary business would take place that day unless Senqu MP Likeleli Tampane and Serialong Qoo, MP for Malingoaneng, were allowed back into Parliament.
Tampane and Qoo were suspended from the National Assembly by the Deputy Speaker Teboho Lehloenya last Thursday.
Both MPs are from the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) party.
The suspension came immediately after MPs from the opposition and those from the coalition government exchanged blows in the House last Thursday in scenes that have brought national embarrassment on Lesotho.

Three MPs, who include Selibe Mochoboroane, Litšoane Litšoane who is also the Minister of Agriculture, was also injured in the scuffle.
Also injured were the MEC MP Thabo Ramatla and the Minister in Prime Minister’s Office, Tšehlo Ramarou.
The MPs had to seek medical assistance in hospital.

Lehloenya blamed the ruckus on Tampane and Qoo and immediately suspended the duo for disrupting the business of Parliament.
The opposition was incensed by the deputy speaker’s decision to push out the two from Parliament.
They argued Lehloenya had flouted parliamentary procedures by unilaterally suspending the two MPs without a motion.
Qalabane MP Motlalentoa Letsosa said the suspension was done in an unlawful manner.

“We will not allow the House to continue with the business for today before Qoo and Tampane are part of this House,” Letsosa said.
We want them to be the part of every business that is going on, he said.

But Lehloenya said the MPs were free to challenge his decision if they were not happy with it.
The opposition continued to disrupt business in House and shouted and heckled whoever sought to speak.
They shouted “point of order Mr Speaker” and the shouting continued even after the Speaker did not allow them to speak.

What also triggered the chaos on Tuesday was that the MPs insisted that Parliament should pass the new wool and mohair regulations first.
With all parliamentary business being foiled, Motanyane then summoned the leader of the opposition, Mathibeli Mokhothu, along with the leader of the House, Monyane Moleleki, to his office.
After an hour-long meeting, Lehloenya told the MPs that they had decided to stop the business for the day and would proceed the following day.
He said Parliament would on Wednesday deal with the new wool and mohair regulations as well as the motion to suspend Tampane and Qoo.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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