Mosisili digs in heels over PR seats

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MASERU –– Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili last weekend said he will not shift his position on the allocation of proportional representation (PR) seats in parliament.

Mosisili told about 3 000 party ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party supporters in Teya-Teyaneng that the allocation of the seats was done lawfully.

The prime minister’s statement could throw ongoing talks between the government and the opposition on the seats issue into total disarray.

The government of Lesotho last week reluctantly agreed to engage the opposition in talks to break the impasse.

The talks, which are being mediated by the Christian Council of Lesotho, appear to be headed for deadlock after both sides dug in their positions.

Mosisili said although his government had agreed to the talks it will not be moved from its position regarding the allocation of the PR seats.

“The government has its position in these negotiations. This country observes the rule of law and not the rule of man nor the rule of the jungle.

“The courts of law have already decided that our alliance with NIP (National Independent Party), which seems to be the causative factor to the dispute, is lawful and that is our stand point,” Mosisili said.

Mosisili’s statement was greeted with wild ululations from party supporters.

The LCD supporters broke into song mocking Thabane and his opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.

They accused Thabane of being a cry baby.

Thabane le Manashenale ba setse ba lla ba tseka selekane sa rona le NIP,” sang the supporters in Sesotho, which translates to ‘Thabane and the Basotho National Party are busy complaining about the LCD/NIP alliance without good reason.’

The prime minister said he did not want to speak much on the matter so as not to pre-empt the process of dialogue with the opposition.

But he assured LCD and NIP supporters that their political interests will be jealously protected.

The LCD is being represented at the talks by Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla, Local Government Minister, Pontsó Sekatle, Justice Minister, Mpeo Mahase-Moiloa, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Motloheloa Phooko, and Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.

“Whether you call them ministers or members of the executive committee, they make a good team to represent the party in the negotiations,” Mosisili said.

Mosisili told the rally that he had held long meetings with the party committees from the 10 constituencies that form the Berea district on Saturday.

He said the purpose of the meetings was to strategise and find ways for the party to reclaim seats that it lost to the ABC.

“I want those constituencies back. This is the right time to prepare to win the 2012 general election because I want those constituencies back,” Mosisili said.

The LCD lost three constituencies –– Berea, Teyateyaneng and Mabote –– to the ABC during the 2007 election.

The ruling party also lost Seqonoka constituency to the smaller Alliance of Congress Parties (ACP).

Lesotho was thrown into political turmoil last month after Sir Ketumile Masire, who was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate in the election dispute, abruptly quit the talks between the government and the opposition.

Masire accused the government of stalling the talks after it refused to engage the opposition on the matter.

The government denied the charge and in turn accused Masire of siding with the opposition. It also accused Masire of attempting to throw the country into chaos.

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