. . . as ‘fired’ minister’s fate is decided by Mosisili
SELIBE Mochoboroane’s tenure as Small Business Development looks all but over after a “dismissal notice” was issued for the newly-minted Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili tomorrow.
Announcing his long expected exit from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and headship of the MEC last Wednesday, Mr Mochoboroane said he intended to stay on as a minister despite parting ways with the joint-ruling party in which he was secretary-general.
However, LCD leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing had vowed to ensure Mr Mochoboroane lost his ministerial position since he was appointed to the position by virtue of being a member of the party.
With the final decision on his fate resting on Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, as the head of government, Mr Mochoboroane is scheduled to hold a meeting with the premier tomorrow.
However, a public notice issued on Friday and bearing a stamp from the office of Dr Mosisili’s Senior Private Secretary Mamello Morrison announced Mr Mochoboroane’s dismissal before his meeting with the prime minister.
The notice, which was widely circulated on social media, is titled “Announcement from the office of the Prime Minister”.
Part of the notice reads: “The office of the Prime Minister is announcing that Minister Selibe Mochoboroane has been relieved of his duties in the Cabinet of His Majesty’s Government when this announcement is made.
“The public shall remember that Mr Mochoboroane was appointed to the cabinet of ministers as the Thabana-Morena No. 52 constituency under the flag of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).
“Now that Mr Mochoboroane has resigned his membership from the LCD rightfully, he should be dismissed from the cabinet of ministers, in line with the Coalition Agreement of the seven parties that formed this coalition government.”
Dr Mosisili was elected premier in March 2015 by a coalition of seven parties after the 28 February 2015 general elections produced a hung parliament.
The seven parties include Dr Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC), LCD, Marematlou Freedom Party, Basotho Congress Party, National Independent Party, Lesotho People’s Congress and Popular Front for Democracy.
Sources privy to the matter told the Sunday Express the dismissal notice was a pre-emptive strike to ensure Mr Mochoboroane was given his marching orders “at all costs”.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said they were worries Dr Mosisili would not be keen to dispatch the minister in light of the seven-party government’s vulnerability ahead of a no-confidence motion in parliament by the opposition.
The opposition alliance has vowed to submit a no-confidence motion on the government once the National Assembly is reconvened on 24 February 2017.
The bloc, which consists of the All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party, Reformed Congress of Lesotho and the recently launched Alliance for Democrats (AD), has also declared they would only approve the national budget if the no-confidence motion is first tabled in the august house.
The DC has already split after its erstwhile deputy leader Monyane Moleleki led the bulk of the party’s leadership to forming the AD.
Prior to leaving the DC last November, Mr Moleleki and most members of the party’s national executive committee, “pulled out” of government and inked a coalition agreement with the opposition parties to oust the government.
In line with the NEC’s directive, five ministers and two deputy ministers tendered their resignations to Dr Mosisili, which destabilised the government and left many gaps in cabinet.
Public Service Minister Tsukutlane Au, who had also been expected to quit at the time but stayed on, reportedly resigned on Friday last week.
The sources said in light of the high turnover in cabinet, Dr Mosisili was not keen to see another minister go. However, they said the LCD was determined in ensuring that Mr Mochoboroane was not rewarded for his “insolence”.
Contacted for comment, Ms Morrison would neither confirm nor deny issuing the notice. However, she curtly directed this paper to Dr Mosisili’s spokesperson Motumi Ralejoe for any further questions.
Efforts to contact Mr Ralejoe yesterday were, however, fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable.
For his part, Mr Mochoboroane said he was yet to see the notice and was awaiting official communication from Dr Mosisili on the way forward.
“I have not received any dismissal letter. It may be true that I have been dismissed, but I will only know when I have received such a letter,” he said.
“I will be meeting the prime minister on Monday afternoon, and that’s when I will hear what he has decided on my fate as there has not been any dismissal letter issued to me.”
Mr Mochoboroane’s jumping ship from the LCD had been long in coming after he clashed with Mr Metsing and his party deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi.
Prior to his departure, the youthful politician had been linked with a faction in the LCD dubbed Ma-Israele (Israelites) and given the moniker “Moses” by his supporters who said he could take the LCD to a figurative “promised land”.
Messrs Metsing and Mokhosi had in turn been linked to the Ma-Egepeta (Egyptians) faction, with the deputy premier labelled “Pharaoh” for alleged authoritarianism and “refusing” to relinquish power.
The internecine strife in the LCD came to a head last month after Mr Metsing suspended Mr Mochoboroane for allegedly systematically sabotaging the LCD to prop up his new party.
While Mr Mochoboroane denied planning to leave the LCD, his association with the MEC was an open secret given that promotional material linking him to the party was being circulated on social media.
The 39-year old Mr Mochoboroane’s MEC on Wednesday joined the fray of Lesotho’s crowded political scene which already has 25 registered parties.