November 6, 2002

Opposition parties urge government to re-open parliament

It has been two months now since the first session of the Sixth Parliament of Lesotho was adjourned sine die. The question on the lips of many political observers, and indeed the whole Basotho nation is what is taking government so long to re-open Parliament.

Rumours are rife that the government's delay in the opening of the legislature is due to frictions and clashes on matters of policy within the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD). It is against this background and other reasons that Leaders of opposition parties in the Lesotho's first Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) Parliament met on October 31, 2002 to deliberate the issue.

Leaders of opposition parties stated that the Speech from the Throne made by King Letsie III during the state opening of the Sixth Parliament on July 13, 2002 was pregnant with promises and expectations that were supposed to be fulfilled before the end of life of the present Parliament. "It is for this reason that we feel two months is a long time for Parliament to remain closed. It is our feeling that Parliament should be opened right now so that matters of importance to the nation and the country be addressed," they added.

Leaders of opposition parties most of whom came into the National Assembly through proportional allocation termed 'Khekhethane' in the local jargon, said plans were underway to the meet and discuss the re-opening of Parliament with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ntlhohi Motsamai.

Meanwhile, opposition parties' Leaders expressed deep concern that summer cropping which they encouraged government to subsidize was not going according to plan. "Cultivation and cropping for the summer season is not going smoothly and is fraught with irregularities. For example tractor-owners contracted by government to plough the fields complain that they are not paid in time to be able to buy fuel for their tractors. Seeds and fertilizers are not available in some places while in some places ploughing was done, but no cropping was made," they added.

Leaders of the opposition encouraged government to correct this sad state of affairs as soon as possible, adding it was high time a National Assembly portfolio committee on agriculture was formed to deal with crisis facing the country today, and any matters that would face agriculture in the future. (Mopheme/The Survivor, Maseru)

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