Hon. Sephiri Motanyane
The Speaker


Ntlo ea Bakhethoa ba Sechaba

Hon. Teboho Lehloenya
The Deputy Speaker

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The Speaker's Profile

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The Speaker of the National Assembly is elected by the National Assembly from among its members or from other persons who are not members of the National Assembly. A Minister or an Assistant Minister cannot be elected as a Speaker.

Election of the Speaker is the first task of a new Parliament. This is so because the Constitution says no business can be transacted when the office of Speaker is vacant. The election is supervised by the Clerk of the National Assembly.

The person elected stands beside the Speaker’s chair and expresses the sense of honour conferred on him/her by the election. S/he then descends to the Clerk’s table to take the Oath of Allegiance, administered by the Clerk to the National Assembly, and returns to the Chair as Speaker. If the Speaker is appointed as a Minister or Assistant Minister s/he ceases to be Speaker.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may be removed from office by resolution of the National Assembly supported by the votes of two-thirds of all the members thereof.

Role of the Speaker

The functions of the Speaker are provided for in the Constitution and in the Standing Orders of the National Assembly while some have been developed by convention over a period of time. The functions are as follows:

  • Presiding: at any sitting of the National Assembly; enforcing the Standing Orders; calling upon members who wish to speak; maintaining order in the House and chairing some committees
  • Ensuring the integrity, independence and impartiality of parliament: by emphasising the importance and independence of parliament; by protecting the rights and privileges of the National Assembly; by ensuring that government and opposition are invited whenever there are important visitors
  • Representing the National Assembly: in its relations with the executive and other authorities; at official public events; at international fora; by hosting foreign dignitaries and delegations; handling mass media interviews on operations of the National Assembly
  • Discretionary powers: in determining offensive words during debates; ruling on irrelevancy and tedious repetition of arguments; deciding on breach of privileges; in determining the majority from voting voices (Ayes and Nos); re-wording of a question if it is unbecoming or not in conformity with Standing Orders; determining the admissibility of amendments
  • Administrative responsibility: for ensuring appropriate support services for the National Assembly, smooth administration of the precincts of the National Assembly and welfare of its members.

The importance accorded to the office of the Speaker is demonstrated by the fact that the Speaker ranks very high in the Lesotho Official Order of Precedence. There is complete silence when the Speaker’s Procession enters the House. The members of the National Assembly and visitors to the National Assembly bow to the Speaker’s Chair on entering or leaving the House.

It is the function of the Speaker to maintain order during the debates. All speeches are addressed to the Speaker and not directly to a member. When the Speaker asks a member to withdraw an offensive phrase or word, the member is expected to do so at once. When the Speaker rises to speak, all members sit and listen. The decisions of the Speaker are final; appeal against them has special procedures.

The Deputy Speaker presides in the absence of the Speaker. In the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, a member of the National Assembly may be elected to preside for that day only.

 

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