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Opposition says will block Omnibus Bill

THE opposition says it will block the passing of the Omnibus Bill until the government retires two security agency bosses. The opposition spoke after Law Minister Richard Ramoeletsi spoke in parliament over the government’s plans to dismantle the Bill into three parts.

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The Bill, also known as the 11th Amendment to the Constitution Bill, has a part where parliament can pass it with a simple majority, and another part where it requires amending the entrenched sections in the constitution by a two-third majority, and where it will require approval through a referendum.

The opposition MPs said they will block the Bill where a two-thirds majority would be required until the army boss Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela and chief spy, Pheello Ralenkoane, are relieved of their duties.

The government does not have a two-thirds majority.

The opposition’s gripe is that Lt Gen Letsoela, the National Security Service (NSS) boss Ralenkoane, and the ex-police commissioner Holomo Molibeli issued a joint statement in which they threatened to stop MPs from toppling the government through a vote-of-no-confidence.

Molibeli has since retired from service and now the opposition is demanding that the government retire the remaining duo.

The three security bosses issued the statement when the opposition ganged up with some MPs from the ruling parties to pass the no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Sam Matekane.

“The Basotho nation has shown for a long time that it reveres democracy, not a rule of the people by MPs for the benefit of the same MPs,” the joint statement read.

“The people have spoken that toppling each other in parliament is not in the interest of the country and they directed that sections allowing that should be reformed,” it said.

“We declare to you, the people, that such acts of changing (of the government) will not take place. What will take place will be the processes of reforms.”

The Democratic Congress (DC) spokesman, Serialong Qoo, told thepost yesterday that “as a collective the opposition will not vote with the government especially on the Bill that will require our two-thirds majority”.

“They cannot force us to vote for the reforms at gunpoint,” he said.

“We support the reforms, but those security agencies bosses must go.”

The Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP) leader, Tefo Mapesela, said they are “not part of the people who will vote for the reforms”.

He complained that the government did not invite the opposition parties in their recent reform preparatory meetings.

“They used to invite us, but not anymore,” Mapesela said.

Mapesela said they want the government to remove the security agencies’ bosses first and then come to ask for their support.

“These reforms will not see the light of day,” he said.

The Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, said “they will have to come and sit down with us, the doors are open but they will have to remove those security agencies bosses.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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