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Former sports minister begs for forgiveness

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — Former gender, youth, sports and recreation minister ’Mathabiso Lepono has asked for forgiveness for wrongs she might have made during her time in office.
Lepono addressed the ministry’s workers on Thursday when the new minister, Thesele ’Maseribane, was introducing himself to them.
“I might have hurt some of you or made mistakes. Bear with me please, whatever mistake I did was unintentional,” Lepono said.
“I ask for forgiveness,” she said.
’Maseribane said he was humbled by Lepono’s appeal for forgiveness.
“When a person of the age of ’M`e ’Mathabiso Lepono asks for forgiveness it is not a minor thing,” ’Maseribane said.
“We should all feel the urge to forgive her because she has asked for forgiveness wholeheartedly,” he said.
Lepono has been repeatedly accused of having a hand in the disappearance of sewing machines donated to Lesotho women self-help organisations by the Chinese government early 2000s.
Accusations were that she had given the machines to her daughter who had a sewing business in Mafeteng.
Lepono has on several times denied that she was involved in the machines’ disappearance from the ministry’s storeroom, where they were kept.
“Concerning the missing sewing machines it is common knowledge that I invited the police to investigate a case of theft because I really did not know who stole them,” she said.
Lepono said even her daughter who is in the sewing business in Mafeteng was investigated and the police found that her machines were not like the missing ones.
Lepono, who was the sports minister from 2002 until ’Maseribane took over in June this year, was bid farewell by the ministry staff in the presence of ’Maseribane, principal secretary Tšeliso ’Mokela and his deputy Rethabile Mosisili.
She was given a seana-marena blanket as a farewell gift.
’Maseribane, the new minister, also got a seana-marena blanket as a welcome gift.
Promising to start where Lepono leftb off in the development of Lesotho’s sports, ’Maseribane said he would build a high performance training centre in Ha-Rapokolana in Maseru by September this year.
He also promised to build stadiums in Qacha’s Nek and Mokhotlong districts.
He said it is high time Lesotho sports are professionalised.
He said Lepono entered office during hard times when the then Lesotho Sports Council, now turned into Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission, was not performing well.

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