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Senate in turmoil as chiefs almost exchange blows



MASERU – BUSINESS in the Senate almost descended into a farce on Tuesday with principal chiefs almost exchanging blows over the manner in which president Dr ’Mamonaheng Mokitimi was conducting affairs.
An altercation ensued between the Principal Chief of Matelile Seeiso Moholobela and the Principal Chief of Leribe Joel Motšoene at the official opening of the Senate.
Both Senators traded verbal barbs after Chief Motšoene accused Dr Mokitimi of not including his motion of no-confidence in her opening speech.
Chief Motšoene filed a motion of no-confidence against Dr Mokitimi two weeks ago and he was expecting it to form part of Tuesday’s business.
Chief Motšoene demanded answers from Dr Mokitimi on why she did not mention that there was a motion of no-confidence that needed to be dealt with.
Dr Mokitimi replied that there was no need to include that motion as she had since called him to her office to discuss the issues of that motion.
“What kind of nonsense is this?” the Principal Chief of Mapoteng, Peete Lesaoana Peete who lost the contest to become the president last year, said out of rage.
That triggered commotion in the Senate, with emotions threatening to boil over.
“You have no right to call Chief Motšoene in private, especially on a matter that involves us as Senators,” the angry chief said.
“I have always told you that you like dragging us like idiots,” thundered Senator Peete, adding that “we will never allow that to happen”.
The Chief further demanded: “What kind of President are you who wants to discuss issues of this House in your office?”
Chief Peete told Dr Mokitimi that she was “clearly not fit for the office”.
“Why do you insist on sitting on that chair when you can see that you are a failure?”
“You need to step down.”
Chief Motšoene told Dr Mokitimi that he was never going to meet her privately in her office.
He asked what was it that she was going to say to him which she could not say in front of all of them.
Chief Motšoene told Dr Mokitimi that she had no right to deliver her speech before addressing his motion.
He asked her to step aside saying they were not going to listen to whatever she was going to say.
This triggered serious commotion in the House.
Chief Seeiso Moholobela stood up to stop the commotion.
He told the House that whatever Chiefs Motšoene and Peete wanted would not be possible.
“You are causing all this drama because the person you wanted to be the President did not win,” Chief Moholobela said.
Chief Moholobela told the irate Senators that they were “full of nonsense and your behaviour is unacceptable”.
“We cannot tolerate this s**t you are trying to do. You are misbehaving,” he said.
Chief Motšoene stood up and began to argue with Chief Moholobela that he could not talk to him in that way.
“What do you think you can do?” Chief Moholobela asked.
“Tloho koano ke tlo u fa ’m’ao (come so that I give you your mother),” he said.
“Do you think I am scared of you? I will give you your mother right away,” he said.
That reference to one’s mother is considered an insult in Sesotho culture.
Chief Peete stood up and pointed a finger at Dr Mokimiti putting the blame on her.
He told her that it was because of her that the two chiefs were trading barbs and becoming belligerent.
Chief Peete blocked the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane from taking a stand to deliver her remarks.
“Honourable Minister, you cannot continue speaking while there is this kind of tension, please sit down,” he said.
He told Dr Matlanyane that she would only talk when everyone was calm and the President had addressed the issues that had been raised.
Dr Matlanyane, who appeared startled, then sat down.
Dr Mokitimi told the House that the Business Committee will sit on March 11 to decide on the motion.
The Principal Chief of Ha-Mamathe, Sempe Gabasheane Masupha, stood up and blamed the President saying had she told the House earlier none of the commotion could have happened.
“You are the cause of this Madam President,” Chief Masupha said.
The Maama Principal Chief Michelle Maama also took a stand and indicated that he still had confidence in Dr Mokitimi.
’Malimpho Majoro

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