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Majoro reshuffles cabinet

  • Thabane loyalist Moramotse returns while DC gets more posts

’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro on Friday reshuffled his cabinet bringing back into government his predecessor Thomas Thabane’s loyalist Lehlohonolo Moramotse.

New ministers and deputies were sworn in at the Royal Palace on Friday by Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane.

The swearing in was graced by His Majesty King Letsie III, Dr Majoro and his deputy and DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu and other cabinet ministers.

Formerly Police and Public Safety minister, Mr Moramotse is known for defying Covid-19 regulations during his stint in the Thabane government which gave way to the Majoro administration on 20 May 2020.

The All-Basotho Convention (ABC’s) Lithoteng legislator has bounced back as Local Government and Chieftainship minister. He replaced ABC chairperson and Mosalemane legislator Samuel Rapapa who has been moved to the Communications, Science and Technology portfolio.

The former incumbent Keketso Sello, also of the ABC, has been moved to the Public Service ministry.

Former ABC chairperson Motlohi Maliehe, who was previously Public Service minister has taken over the Forestry, Range and Conservation portfolio that fell vacant after the April 2021 dismissal of Motlatsi Maqelepo.

Mr Maqelepo was fired along with former Justice and Law minister Professor Nqosa Mahao and two others. The two are ‘Mamoipone Senauoane (formerly Police and Public Safety minister) and former Deputy Health minister Nto Moakhi. They were all fired for siding with Prof Mahao who had announced that he was dumping the ABC to form his own Basotho Action Party (BAP).

Prof Mahao’s former portfolio has been taken up by former Tourism, Environment and Culture minister, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane of the Popular Front for Democracy party. Adv Rakuoane has been replaced by the Democratic Congress (DC’s) Hloahloeng legislator Ntlhoi Motsamai.

Ms Motsamai made way for fellow party member, ’Mamookho Phiri (Khafung constituency). Ms Phiri will be deputised by ’Maletsema Letsoepa-Lenkoane the DC’s Matlakeng legislator.

Former Deputy Water minister Lepota Sekola (ABC Makhaleng constituency) is the new Police and Public Safety minister.

The ABC’s Khubetsoana legislator Likopo Mahase replaced former Agriculture, Food Security and Marketing minister Tefo Mapesela. Mr Mapesela, who was fired a week before Prof Mahao and others, has now formed his own Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP).

The Defence and National Security ministry vacancy has now been filled by Halebonoe Setšabi. The post has been vacant since February 2012. Following the dismissal of the ABC’s Teyateyaneng legislator Prince Maliehe, the post was briefly occupied by the ABC’s Lekhetho Mosito who was fired barely two weeks after his February appointment.

Although Dr Majoro did not give any reasons, sources said the premier had bowed to pressure to outspoken former Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Tefo Mapesela, who said Mr Mosito should not have been appointed as he was a “goat” and “thief” who had allegedly stolen some weapons from the army in the 1990s.

Mr Setšabi was Trade and Industry minister during the previous Thabane-led coalition until May last year.

New deputy ministers are the DC’s Motete legislator, Tumahole Lerafa (Justice and Law), the ABC’s Mantšonyane legislator Letsitsi Mokoma (Agriculture, Food Security and Marketing) and the ABC’s Ha-Maama legislator Mankoe Maime (Water).

Sources yesterday told the Sunday Express that the reshuffle has seen Mr Thabane loyalists bouncing back into cabinet, indicating the ABC leader’s political resurgence after being ousted from government in May 2020. That Dr Majoro has also appointed legislators from the DC into cabinet means that he is treading carefully and maintaining relations with his party’s main ally, the sources said.

The sources said appointments like that of close ally Mr Setšabi showed that Dr Majoro was emerging as a force to reckon with the ABC. Dr Majoro was appointed ABC deputy leader after Prof Mahao left to form the BAP.

However, Mr Setšabi called the allegations a “layman’s analysis”.

“I don’t know where this is coming from but it is not surprising because even if it were someone else who was appointed, there would still be this kind of talk,” Mr Setšabi said.

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