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No confidence motion against PM on hold

Prime Minister Sam Matekane.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: [email protected] Advertising: [email protected] Telephone: +266 2231 5356

Staff Reporters

Prime Minister Sam Matekane can heave a sigh of relief for now.

This after a no confidence motion, that was certain to topple him from power, on Monday was deferred following a last minute  court challenge by Revolution For Prosperity (RFP) parliamentarian Lejone Puseletso.

Mr Puseletso, the RFP legislator for  Thaba-Moea, has gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the no confidence motion tabled by Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, and seconded by Democratic Congress legislator for Makhaleng, Mootsi Lehata.

Mr Puseletso has also asked the Constitutional Court to stop any no confidence motion from being introduced in parliament until after the completion of the national reforms process.

He asks the court  in his application to rule that “…The passing of no confidence (sic) in parliament be deferred pending the conclusion of the reforms process in terms of which the Parliament shall promulgate the comprehensive provisions to regulate the passing of vote no confidence (sic).”

Mr Puseletso’s application will be heard on 30 October 2023. He also wants parliament to be barred from conducting the no confidence vote until his application has been finalised.

The Speaker of Parliament,   Tlohang Sekhamane, had no option but to defer the no confidence motion citing the court application.

The move came as a huge relief for Mr Matekane, who seemed set to lose power, after 64 MPs had turned up in parliament to confirm their majority against him.
At a press conference in parliament  the  64 MPs, including rebels from Mr Matekane’s own party, had counted themselves and begun celebrating ahead of the vote. If they had all voted in the affirmative,  which seemed certain to happen, it meant Mr Matekane would have been the shortest serving Prime Minister in Lesotho’s history  having been barely a year in office. His government marks its first anniversary on 28 October 2023 after it was sworn in on 28 October 2022.

Only 61 MPs are required to form government in Lesotho’s 120 member chamber.

With 64 MPs on his side, DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu was set to take over as the new Prime Minister.

Mr Matekane had earlier  on Monday lamented the attempt to overthrow his government, saying it was being driven by MPs motivated by selfish interests.
However, Mr Mokhothu, who is also official leader of the opposition in parliament, rubbished Mr Matekane’s statement, saying it was  within the constitutional rights of MPs  to file a no confidence motion.

“It is a right enshrined in the Constitution of Lesotho for MPs to file a vote of no confidence and it is also contained in the parliament standing orders, it is not an attempt to destabilise the country…..” Mr Mokhothu said.