Hansard 07th October, 2016

Daily Hansard
(Official Report)


7th October, 2016

Friday, 7th October, 2016
The House assembled at 9.00 am
(RT. HON. MADAM SPEAKER in the Chair)
The Clerk led the House in Prayer

Introduction of the new Chaplain: Reverend Elliot Setumo Sekoli
Honourable Members, I would like to start by introducing Reverend Elliot Setumo Sekoli who has assumed the position of the Chaplain of the House. Reverend Sekoli commenced his education at Hleoheng Primary School in 1967. In 1976 he proceeded to Leribe Secondary School where he studied for his Junior Cerfiticate. In 1979 he enrolled for Cambridge Overseas School Certificate at Hlotse High School. From 1981 to 1984, he attended a Technical School of Leribe, from 1988 to 1993 he did his Theological Studies at Morija Theological Seminary.

Reverend Sekoli has since been working at the Lesotho Evangelical Church of Southern Africa (LECSA) at the following Parish churches, Quthing, Qomoqomong and Morija. He is currently at Qoaling LECSA. Reverend Sekoli is not a stranger to the National Assembly, having offered Chaplaincy services from 15th February 2010 until 12th March, 2012.
Reverend, on behalf of this Honourable House and on my own behalf, I am very pleased to extend the warm and the special welcome to you, and thank you more sincerely for joining us as the Chaplain of the House [Applause].
Kea leboha, Litho tse Khabane.
The Rt. Hon. the Prime Minister
Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House
Hon. Leaders of Political Parties in Governing Coalition
Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Hon. Deputy Speaker
Hon. Leaders of Opposition Parties and
Hon. Members

Today’s Sitting marks the beginning of the Fourth Meeting of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Therefore, I am very pleased to welcome you all, especially our guests from various sectors of our society who, despite exigencies of their duties and responsibilities, have deemed it necessary to be with us this morning.

Hon. Members, it has become a tradition for us that, before proceeding with the business of the current Meeting we should take a moment to reflect over not so distant a past in order to put things into perspective and chart the way forward.

In the last Meeting, i.e. a period from Monday, 8th February, 2016 to Thursday, 14th July, 2016, the House transacted an unprecedented amount of business including:
of which;
⦁ Appropriation (2016/2017) Bill, 2016.
⦁ Audit Bill, 2016.
⦁ Public Inquiries (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
⦁ Land Administration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
⦁ Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Bill, 2016
⦁ Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
⦁ Lesotho Passports and Travel Documents Bill, 2016.
⦁ Local Government Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
⦁ Land Survey (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and
⦁ Science and Technology Bill, 2016,
were considered and passed.
Some of these Bills have since received the Royal Assent and are now Acts of Parliament.

Subordinate laws:
With regard to subordinate laws, the House considered and allowed:
⦁ Lesotho Passports and Travel Documents (Fees) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Members of Parliament Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Income Tax (Amendment of Monetary Amounts) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Lending Limits) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Consolidated Supervision) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Banks) (Risks Management) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Liquidity Requirements) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Disclosure of Bank Charges and Interest Rates) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Commercial Banking Permissible Activities) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Agent Banking) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Minimum Local Assets Requirements) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Mergers and Transfer of Assets and Liabilities) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Banks) (Branching Requirements) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Risk-Based Capital Requirements) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Prompt Corrective Action) Regulations, 2016.
⦁ Statutory Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Minimum Local Assets Requirements) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Mergers and Transfer of Assets and Liabilities) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Banks) (Assets Classification) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Financial Institutions (Licensing Requirements) Regulations, 2016 and

⦁ Financial Institutions (Disclosure of Financial Information) Regulations, 2016, were deemed to have been allowed because ten (10) sitting days had expired before the House could pronounce itself on them, and no notice of disallowance was given pursuant to Section 27A (4) of the Interpretation Act, 1977 as amended.
Hon. Members deserve a warm word of gratitude for their due diligence in their duties in various committees as evidenced by the amount of work transacted.

Ministerial Statements:
In keeping with the practice and procedure of the House, the Honourable Ministers also took the initiative and made statements on the floor of the House to:

⦁ Make official pronouncements.
⦁ Articulate government’s position on issues.
⦁ State government’s policy on matters of public interest.
⦁ Explain government’s initiatives aimed at enhancing peoples’ lives.

Included in the list of substantive motions debated and endorsed by the House are the following:
⦁ Consolidated Capital Account (Development Estimates) 2016/2017.

⦁ Establishment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Monitoring Committee.

⦁ Eradication of Child Marriages in Lesotho.

⦁ Establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee (in respect of the plight of Thoteng Secondary School JC students who have not received their results).

Questions are increasingly becoming pivotal to the parliamentary business. It is generally understood that Parliament provides a link between the concerns of the people and the authorities. And as such a Member of Parliament is the single most important point of contact with parliament, representing the voters. The latters’ plight, concerns, needs and aspirations are presented to Parliament, amongst others, through questions to the government. As always, many questions were asked in this last Meeting. A cursory search through all of them highlight a need for service delivery in general, and in particular a dire need for road infrastructure, owing to the geographical landscape and the terrain of the Kingdom.

For those of us representing the remote and most rural constituencies, this presents the greatest challenge in our duties and responsibilities. However, we take solace in the Priority Policy Programme of the Coalition Government where it is stated that, “The plight of the poor and those living in villages will be the first priority of the Coalition Government”.
Participation in Local and International Meetings:
As part of the bigger family of nations, our Parliament quite often gets invited to participate and take its rightful place in international fora. As a result thereof, some of the Honourable Members were able to represent this august House in various activities and meetings locally and internationally on and around the following topics and themes:
⦁ Promotion of Human Rights of people with disability.

⦁ Review of Parliamentary action on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Lesotho: Lessons learned and recommendations for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era.

⦁ From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Challenges and Opportunities for Parliaments to enhance Reproductive Health.

⦁ Disincentives to the realization of fundamental Human Rights and Public Health.

⦁ Commercialisation of Agriculture: Legislative bottlenecks.

⦁ Collaboration on issues concerning children and HIV and AIDS.
⦁ Deepening Democracy: The role of oversight bodies.

⦁ 2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women.

⦁ Parliaments as key actors in ensuring access to health for all.

⦁ Strengthening Parliamentary Role in Realisation of Human Rights in Southern Africa.

⦁ From Adoption to Ratification of the African Union Treaties in Particular, the New Protocol of the Pan African Parliament: What are the advantages for Africa?

⦁ Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC).

⦁ Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Parliaments.

⦁ Rejuvenating Democracy, Giving Voice to Youth.

⦁ Evaluation in promoting accountability.
Hon. Members may have noted, that being a Member of Parliament remains one of the few professions for which there is no job description, and there are a few guides as to who, how or what a politician should represent. We are nonetheless expected to know it all right from day one in office. Therefore we have no choice but to learn on the job. Initiatives such as the foregoing are designed to expose Hon. Members to global trends, they present valuable opportunities for Members of Parliament to interact with colleagues from other jurisdictions, apply their minds on issues, exchange experiences, take the best practices intended to help them put the best foot forward in serving our nations and communities.

With regard to the business to be transacted in this current Meeting, I wish to start with two outstanding items from the previous meeting:
⦁ Hon. Members will recall that, the Biosafety Bill, 2016 was presented to this House on Monday 27th June, 2016 and referred to the Portfolio Committee on the Natural Resources, Tourism and Land Cluster. The report thereof, will soon be tabled for consideration by the House.

⦁ Teaching Service (Amendment) Regulations, 2016 were tabled on Wednesday 6th July, 2016 and referred to the Portfolio Committee on the Social Cluster. Subsequently the report was tabled in the House on Thursday, 14th July, 2016, the day on which the House was adjourning for winter recess. Therefore this report is yet to be considered by the House.
Current business readily available for presentation to the House include the following:
⦁ Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

⦁ Radiation Protection and Agency Bill, 2016.

⦁ Lesotho Communications Authority (Administrative) Rules, 2016.

⦁ Lesotho Communications Authority (Quality of Service) Rules, 2016.

⦁ Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (Retirement and Spouse’s Benefits) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Income Tax (Amendment of Monetary Amounts) Regulations, 2016.

⦁ Internal Security (Arms and Ammunition) (Firearm Competency Certificate) Rules, 2016 and

⦁ Human Rights Commission (Selection Process for Members) Regulations, 2016.

I must also hasten to mention that in line with Parliament’s mandate of oversight, the Committees have presented their work plans for the month of October and the House will be expected to facilitate this exercise in due course.

Hon. Members it is most gratifying to note that the Fourth Meeting is taking place at the height of celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of Lesotho’s Independence, the highlight of which was Tuesday 4th of October, 2016.
It is therefore fitting and appropriate for this august House to congratulate the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs and through you Sir, the Government and the entire nation for supporting this momentous national event, which indeed turned out to be a resounding success, with His Majesty’s message of peace still reverberating right round the country.

50th Anniversary or the Golden Jubilee is defined as the time for reflection, the time for finding ourselves and most importantly it’s a novel opportunity to start again.
Perhaps as Members of Parliament we need to pause and ponder on what it means to the institution of Parliament and for us as politicians and representatives of the people.
After 50 years, Parliament continues to be seen as the most important public forum that exists specifically to articulate the interests and concerns of the citizens. It is generally accepted that there are key and strategic roles that Parliament alone can perform.
However, time has also seen public pressure on Parliament becoming more than ever before. The development of communication technology and extensive media coverage of politics has increased the visibility of Parliament and Politicians.
And now more than any other time there is greater public desire for:
⦁ Higher standards of probity, accountability and responsiveness to public concerns.

⦁ More information and influence in parliamentary work.

⦁ Service delivery to meet citizens’ needs.

Similarly, Members of Parliament have become increasingly under pressure to be accountable to those who elect them. And this is inextricably intertwined with heightened public expectations of what politicians should deliver for citizens in the local area, in what is referred to as constituency service. The latter is now seen as being at the core of parliamentary representation, by both the public and politicians. Statistics in many parts of the world suggest that, voters are much more likely to judge Members of Parliament on their ability to deliver at the local level rather than on legislation or oversight. As we know it, constituency service covers; project work, policy responsiveness, grievance-chasing, support to individuals etc. And all these characterise the type of Hon. Members’ questions to the Ministers. Therefore the 50 years of Lesotho’s independence present a challenge to the Parliamentary System to channel constituency work by moving from:
⦁ Individual to collective: thereby finding responses that benefit a number of people rather than individuals.

⦁ Specific to strategic; i.e. finding policy solutions to common problems rather than dealing with each case on its own.

⦁ Local to the national; by finding ways of bringing constituency expertise into the parliamentary and policy process much more systematically.

Hon. Members, it is incumbent upon us to honor our obligations regarding the citizens’ legitimate demands.
Despite our diverse political parties and our divergent views in our respective political parties, we need to support the Government to deliver on its commitments as envisaged in the Coalition Agreement of April, 2015 and the Speech from the Throne delivered during the opening of the Ninth Parliament, and build a better life for the people.
We have a responsibility to lead efforts to pull together to build peace and sustainable development that all citizens can share in.
Yes we can. Just as Winston Churchill aptly puts it:
“Sure I am that this day we are masters of our fate that the task which has been set before us is not beyond my endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us”.
In conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity to remind the Honourable House of His Majesty’s words during the opening of the Ninth Parliament, when he said;
“Ntumelleng ke thethe le ho liella likhala ka mantsoe a boeletsi le boipiletso. Litho tse Khabane, behang tataiso ea Morena Molimo ka pele linthong tsohle tseo le li etsang. Hopolang ka qenehelo Basotho ba le khethileng ka tšepo le tumelo ea hore ka linako tsohle le tla sebeletsa ho ntlafatsa maphelo a bona. Sebetsang ka kutloano; empa moo le sa lumellaneng ka maikutlo, sebetsanang ka tlhomphano, mamellano le ’nete; le ntse le beile naha le sechaba ka pele ho tsohle”.
Hon. Members, I am pleased and greatly honoured to declare the Fourth Meeting of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho officially open.[Applauses]
There being no Business on the Order Paper the Chair wishes to take this Opportunity to wish the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House, Hon. Minister’s and Deputy Ministries, Hon. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Leaders of Oppositions Parties, Hon. Members, Senior Government Officials, the Chaplain of the House, the Table, Hansard Editor and his staff, Sergeant at Arms, Ushers, representatives of Media Houses, Members of the General Public, Police Officers, a peaceful and a pleasant weekend.
HON. MEMBERS: Same to you!
The House is adjourned until Monday afternoon at 2.30 p.m

There being no further business upon the Order Paper, Rt. Hon. Madam Speaker adjourned the House without question put pursuant to the Standing Order No. 16 (2)
The House accordingly adjourned at 9.30 a. m.