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Aug. 16, 2022

STAFF REPORTER

3 min read

Lesotho declare state of emergency to recall expired parliament

Lesotho declare state of emergency to recall expired parliament

Lesotho's Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro

Story highlights

  • The state of emergency runs from August 16 to August 29
  • Current political climate in Lesotho poses substantial threat, risk and danger against the country’s stability and prosperity

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Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has declared 13-day state of emergency in order to facilitate recall of parliament beyond its term of office in order to pass unfinished laws.

The declaration of state of emergency came after the current parliament’s legal tenure came to an end while it had not passed laws aimed at facilitating national reforms. The state of emergency runs from August 16 to August 29.

Lesotho adopted national reforms programme in 2019 with the objective of reviewing the national constitution. The reforms would also review, within the parameters of democracy, national security set up and mandate, the independence and role of justice system, parliament’s responsibility and role of the public sector as well as introducing reforms to the economy and the media sectors.

The state of emergency overrides relevant sections of the constitution and give power to the Council of State (The King’s advisory body) to recall parliament to sit on an emergency basis and pass the outstanding laws.

Declaring the state of emergency on August 16 through a legal notice, Prime Minister Majoro said the current political climate in Lesotho poses “substantial threat, risk and danger against the country’s stability and prosperity.”

Dr Majoro has identified factors that undermine Lesotho’s political stability, justice, and peace as unchecked politicisation of the public service, including the security agencies, loopholes in the constitution, formation of coalition governments, unregulated floor crossing in parliament and inadequate regulations of political parties.

He said that Lesotho “has endured sustained political instability, injustice and discord going back to the 1960s and that the situation is continuous and aggravating.”

In the legal notice, Majoro reminded the nation that the country has undertaken to undergo national reforms to bring about lasting political stability, justice and peace by passing of laws in parliament, namely the 11th amendment to the constitution bill, 2022 and national assembly electoral amendment bill, 2022.

“The failure to pass the two bills means continuation of unchecked politicisation of the public service, including the security agencies, loopholes in the constitution, formation of coalition governments, unregulated floor crossing in parliament and inadequate regulation of political parties, which have been identified as factors undermining political stability, justice and peace of the country,” he said.

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He reminded the nation of the gravity of killings post the general elections and other cruel and inhuman attacks that are being caused and perpetrated by political factionalism, and the adverse effects of Lesotho’s political instability post the general elections and the impossibility of preventing its continuance through the current legal framework.

He added: “Since parliament has failed on account of lapse of time to pass the eleventh amendment to the constitution, 2022 and national assembly electoral amendment bill, 2022 aimed to avert the above stated undesirable situation (and) since it is necessary to take measures to counter and prevent social, economic, security and political damage being caused by political instability…I declare the state of emergency to exist in Lesotho, from the 16th to 29th August, 2022.”

Prime Minister Majoro said it was government’s legal duty and moral responsibility to safeguard the existence of the national stability and prosperity.

Meanwhile, King Letsie III while accepting letters of credence from the new South African High Commissioner Ms Constance Seoposengwe to Lesotho at the Royal Palace on August 18, expressed hope that through the reforms, the upcoming general elections would contribute towards consolidation of democracy and usher new era of peace and stability in the country.

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