Parliament to reinstate past business

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

PARLIAMENT has agreed to make provisions for the reinstatement of business of the House that could have been discussed previously and not concluded, in a move that will ensure the utilisation of valuable contributions and go a long way to conserve resources.

This emerged in the August House this week after the Leader of the Popular Front for Democracy, Advocate Rakuoane moved a substantive motion (self-contained independent proposal) for the House “not to clear the table” as is the norm.

As a matter of practice, Parliament has been clearing the table for a new agenda in the likely event of prorogation or dissolving of Parliament before conclusion of its five-year term.

Adv Rakuoane explained he introduced a standing order on the reinstatement of past Parliament business as this could save state resources.

“When a new Parliament session came in, this literally meant that the whole agenda that was on the table before prorogation or dissolution would be discarded and as MPs we were not given an option to revive any business from the past sitting,” Adv Rakuoane said.

Therefore, he said, the House should be allowed to resuscitate old business if it is relevant in the next regime or Parliamentary session. “When some of these bills are made, there is a lot of time and expertise sourced and this means it’s just resources wasted if we do not utilise the knowledge,” Rakuoane said.

Adv Rakuoane said for the longest time ever Lesotho’s Parliament was not innovative in a number of ways, including making amendments that would help them better their business transaction in the August House.

“If there are some important information or resources that could be taken from a past bill that never passed from a previous sitting, we shall now have powers to revive such and use it in the present sitting. We now have powers to incorporate things which we see fit even if they came from a previous Parliamentary session,” Adv Rakuoane said.

“It is a proper thing to clear the table but there has to be exceptions where business has to be revived. The unfortunate part then was that the standing order did not give us an option to resuscitate any business from the previous sitting even where there was strong evidence of such need.”

In an interview with Lesotho Times on Wednesday, Adv Rakuoane said Parliament had re-examined the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Bill of 2016 and were satisfied. “This led to the amendment of the Bill, as deemed fit and shall follow all other procedures to make it into law, even though it is a Bill that was tabled in the Ninth Parliament. All we wanted was to give ourselves powers to revive Parliament’s agenda whenever we feel like there is need to do so,” Adv Rakuoane said.

He said he was happy to see that other Members of Parliament had obliged and taken up the motion as he had suggested.

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