On a bright sunny with blue sky punctuated with specks of clouds, the members of parliament were dressed to kill.
The day proceedings commenced with a swearing in of two MPs, Makhahliso Mosoeunyane of Democratic Congress (DC), who was not inaugurated with the rest of the MPs last month due to illness, along with Motlalepula Khahloe of Movement for Economic Change (MEC), who stood in for Tšita Mosena who resigned from her membership of MP to contest for Deputy Speaker position which she won without opposition.
The motion followed to the parade of the National Assembly to welcome His Majesty. The atmosphere was filled with laughs, giggles and indistinctive chit-chat while the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Jazz band was playing rhythmic sounds in the background in C major.
The National Assembly officials who wished they could have joined the crowed could not help it but to steal a look from their office windows which almost felt like a celebration.
His Majesty’s arrival
It was after almost an hour and half when his Majesty arrived, escorted by Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) on horse backs. The King without waste was directed to LDF soldiers were on Guard of honour to receive a Royal Salute of the assembled 145 third Infantry Battalion which waited in the baking sun since sunrise.
He was led by Pilots to inspect the Company rank of soldiers dressed in khaki uniform with maroon and blue barrettes with clipped hackles on their foreheads, standing unshaken with the company of bayonets fixed to the muzzle of rifles as they now and then change movements following Parade Commander’s order with the almost fading high-pitched voice from parade attention, parade dress, stand ease to shoulders arm.
His Majesty’s Speech
After everyone assembled into the House, the King indicated that the Covid-19 that ran rampant over the last two years doubled with Russia-Ukraine war had impacted the country’s economy negatively.
“Today I officially open the work of this parliament at the time when the economy of this country dropping due to Covid-19 and the on-going war in Europe as well as devastating situation of climate change that reduces food production,” His Majesty said.
King Letsie III, has implored the 11th parliament to prioritise passing of the reforms bill and other pending laws during his ‘speech from the Throne’ yesterday at the National Assembly.
“The 11th parliament that we have the pleasure to officially open today, will ensure that the National Reforms Bill, and other reform oriented bills that could not be concluded by the 1oth parliament are enacted as a matter of priority,” the king said in his address of the joint seating of parliament.
“The government is further cognisant of the fact that there were a number of laws that were not passed by the 10th parliament, and it will work in earnest with the 11th parliament, through its parliamentary committees, to ensure that those bills and other important bills are enacted.”
The King also said his government would work hard to put end to the high murders and robberies in the country.
He said the government would empower the security agencies to execute their mandates.
“It is a known fact that the escalating crimes inclusive of robbery, callous murders, gender-based violence et al are some of wicked acts that negate the nation’s freedom.”
He said his government remained resolute to ensuring that the rule of law is upheld and would commit to uproot and fight corruption at all costs.
“Institutions established for this purpose will be empowered to discharge their mandate effectively and without fear or favour. A call has also been called to law enforcement agencies and the judiciary to strengthen their efforts in ensuring that criminals are brought to book and that justice is fairly and evenly administered to all in a timely manner,” he said.
He also pointed out that the government would stand with international partners to fight terrorism, human trafficking, and dangerous weapons and to support solutions relating to political differences as well as protecting human rights.
“The government will continue to strengthen relations between Lesotho and South Africa because these two countries have intentions to augment their relations,” he said.
He appealed to the MPs to work hand in hand to form strategies that would upsurge the economy for Basotho to have better lives, pointing out that achieve the mandate would need a collaboration with all stakeholders to bring into operation programmes geared towards stimulating economic growth in areas such as; investment in agro industry.
He said food security and nutrition as well as the effective management of national water resources to meet the needs of current and future generations while a sale of surplus water to countries such as South Africa and Botswana would contribute to the government’s purse.
He continued that, “Rehabilitation of roads and other infrastructure projects, generation of renewable energy, improvement of the manufacturing sector, reviews of the management of natural resources and the mining sector and development of the tourism sector would aid to stimulate the economic growth.”