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Cabinet reshuffle: NSS now under PM’s office

Keiso Mohloboli

PRIME Minister, Thomas Thabane, finally made good on his threat to reshuffle to fire some ministers and some of the major talking points from the Thursday reshuffle were the decisions to fire two ministers as well as bringing the National Security Service (NSS) directly under the control of the PM’s office.

Dr Thabane had previously threatened to reshuffle the cabinet to get rid of under-performing ministers, with the last threat coming last month.

And on Thursday, the Prime Minister fired Public Works and Transport Minister, Lehlohonolo Moramotse, and replaced him with All Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader, Maliehe Prince Maliehe. Health Minister, Nyapane Kaya, was also relieved of his duties and replaced with Nkaku Kabi.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Ntoi Rapapa, was promoted to head the same ministry and his former position was taken by Alliance of Democrats Women’s League President, ‘Maphoka Motoboli.

Public Service minister and Basotho National Party leader, Thesele ‘Maseribane, was moved to the Communications, Science and Technology portfolio.

He swapped ministries with his party’s deputy leader, Joang Molapo.

The Minister of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation, Motlohi Maliehe, swapped with his Tourism, Environment and Culture counterpart, ‘Mamotsie Motsie.

Education and Training Minister, Mokhele Moletsane, was moved to the Justice and Correctional Service portfolio, replacing Mahali Phamotse who was moved to the Gender, Sports, Youth and Recreation ministry.

ABC legislator, Leshoboro Mohlajoa, was also appointed deputy minister in the Prime Minister’ office in a move that Government Secretary, Moahloli Mphaka, said would facilitate the removal of the NSS from the Defence ministry to the direct control of the PM’s office.

Speaking to the Sunday Express on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony at the Maseru Royal Palace on Friday, Mr Mphaka said, “The intention behind Mr Mohlajoa’s appointment was for the NSS to be answerable to the office of the Prime Minister and separate it from Ministry of Defence because national intelligence should be the principal intelligence advisory authority to the Prime Minister”.

“We should all understand that if the NSS was to be independent of the Ministry of Defence, it would mean the establishment of another ministry and to avoid that, the Prime Minister decided the functions of the NSS should be administered in his office.”

Mr Mphaka said the office of the PM had a broad mandate to monitor and implement cabinet decisions, coordinate disaster management activities, nutritional programmes, coordinate the national response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic and all these activities would benefit from the appointment of a deputy minister.

Asked if the reshuffle was meant to create jobs for ABC members, Mr Mphaka said this was unhelpful speculation and the Prime Minister had simply exercised the powers granted to him by the constitution.


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