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April 24, 2024
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PARLY RECALL TO GO AHEAD DESPITE COURT CASE

Maseru, Aug. 11 — Clerk of the National Assembly, Advocate Lebohang Fine Maema KC says the special sitting of the National Assembly will go ahead on Monday despite the court case challenging its recall.

Adv. Maema told the Agency on Friday that there is currently no court order restraining the National Assembly from going ahead with the sitting as had been planned.

“There is no court order restraining us (National Assembly) from going ahead with the sitting on Monday,” he told the Agency.

Adv. Maema who is the Clerk of the National Assembly said they went to court ready to challenge the court case, as it was reported to be urgent but that the case failed to proceed.

Yearn for Economic Sustainability (YES), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho together with Kananelo Boloetse have filed an urgent constitutional case challenging the recall of the 11th parliament. 

This was after the Clerk of the National Assembly issued a Circular (National Assembly Circular No. 5 of 2023) directing the recall of the 11th Parliament. They argue that the recall is without jurisdiction. 

They add that the law is going to be unduly passed through resurrection and originating the 11th Amendment to the Constitution Bill of 2022, not from the National Assembly of the 11th Parliament as contemplated by processes and procedures laid in section 78 (2) of the Constitution, but from the Bills’ graveyard of the dissolved 10th Parliament. 

The applicants indicate that the conduct of the respondents is ultra vires under common law, invalid and unconstitutional under the Constitution and in violation of the principle of legality which is an incident of the rule of law.

Furthermore, they insist that the effect of dissolution of the 10th Parliament was not to refrigerate and preserve the then pending businesses and Bills, but to permanently abort the same. They further insist that they cannot subsequently be resurrected and thrown through the back window upon recalling of the 11th Parliament on August 14, 2023. 

They say the 11th Parliament cannot be permitted in law to sit in vain and expend time and labour over nothing (dead Bill) at the expense of the public purse. 

The applicants are thus asking for an interdict that the parliamentary purported business of August 14, 2023 be halted pending the finalization of this case and/or that such proceedings be declared null and void from the outset.

They are further asking for a declarator that the Circular No. 5 of 2023 and the Standing Order No. 202 of 2022 purporting to reinstate by motion or resolution the Bills that were pending immediately before the dissolution of the past Parliament i.e. 10th Parliament, are null and void for violating mandatory law-making processes and procedures laid in section 78 of the Constitution. 

They are also asking for a declarator that, in case, the word ‘National Assembly’ in section 78 of the Constitution means the current National Assembly of the 11th Parliament, and not the dissolved National Assembly of the 10th Parliament. They are pleading with the court to declare that the dissolution of the 10th Parliament on July 14, 2022 had the legal effect of disintegrating irretrievably (not preserving) all pending Parliamentary businesses and Bills.  

The applicants insist that the 11th Parliament cannot constitutionally ‘consider’ or ‘resurrect’ all such Bills (Including the 11th Amendment to the Constitution Bill, 2022) and carry them over on August 14, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. and/or any time thereof. 

They are requesting the court to jointly and/or severally interdict the respondents from promulgating into law all the dead Bills. They are also requesting the court to restrain and interdict the King from giving Royal Assent to any Bill relating to the dissolved 10th Parliament; 

The applicants are additionally asking that the Respondents be jointly and/or severally directed to start de novo all the processes relating to enacting into laws all the resolved Bills. They are further requesting that the completed resurrection of Tobacco and Alcoholic Products Levy Bill, 2022 be declared null and void. 

The respondents in the matter comprise Speaker of the National Assembly, President of the Senate, Clerk of the National Assembly, the Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs, the Senate House of Parliament, the National Assembly House of Parliament, His Majesty King Letsie III and Attorney General.

The recalling of the 11th Parliament is meant to consider the 11th Amendment to the Constitution and pass it.

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