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Majoro reshuffles principal secretaries

 

’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has reshuffled six principal secretaries (PSs) with effect from 6 August 2021.

A weekend statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that Mr Retšelisitsoe Mohale had been moved to the Justice and Law ministry. He was previously PS in the Ministry of Public Works.

He replaces Lebeko Sello who was appointed Financial Advisor for Health Services at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH). The running of the hospital, Lesotho’s biggest referral institution, was taken over by the government last week. This followed the premature termination of the Tšepong Consortium’s 18-year contract to manage and operate the hospital on behalf of the government. The government terminated the contract over what it said were several breaches of the contract by the Consortium which had run the hospital since it opened its doors to patients in 2011.

Dr Neo Liphoto, formerly PS for National Security Services, has swapped places with former Local Government and Chieftainship PS, Nonkululeko Zaly.

Former PS for Cabinet Administration, Thabo Motoko, has been moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations. He takes over from Retired Colonel Tanki Mothae, who is now PS in the Ministry of Police and Public Safety.

Mr Motoko was not replaced. The statement did not say whether a new PS for Cabinet Administration would be appointed or whether the post had been abolished.

The statement denied speculation in some quarters that the reshuffle was a show of political muscle by Dr Majoro who is allegedly seeking to ensure that key government posts are occupied by his allies.

His press attaché, Buta Moseme, said the reshuffle was done in terms of Section 139 of the Lesotho Constitution 139 which empowers the prime minister to appoint PSs and the Government Secretary “after consultations with the Public Service Commission”.

He said the constitution also empowered the premier to reshuffle PSs.

“The changes were not in any way politically motivated but meant to strengthen services at the respective ministries,” Mr Moseme said.

Dr Majoro took over from the former incumbent, Thomas Thabane, on 20 May 2020. In his relatively short time in charge, he has shown that he is not averse to reshuffling his cabinet even without consulting his All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s powerful national executive committee (NEC).

He did not renew the contracts of several Thabane-era PSs before appointing his own preferred candidates.

He made his first cabinet reshuffle in February this year when he fired then Labour and Employment Minister Keketso Rantšo and her Defence and National Security counterpart, Prince Maliehe.

A few other ministers swapped places in that reshuffle. Again, in April, he fired then ministers, Tefo Mapesela (Agriculture and Food Security), Nqosa Mahao (Justice and Law), Motlatsi Maqelepo (Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation), ‘Mamoipone Senauoane (Police and Public Safety) and Deputy Minister of Health Nto Moakhi.

Save for Mr Mapesela, all the others were fired after dumping the ABC to form the Basotho Action Party which led by Prof Mahao.

Mr Mapesela was the first to be dismissed after he had said Dr Majoro should finish his current term before stepping down to allow Prof Mahao to lead the ABC into the 2022 elections and take over as premier in the event of an ABC win.

Mr Mapesela did not eventually join Prof Mahao and others in the BAP. He subsequently formed his own Basotho Patriotic Party, allegedly after falling out with Prof Mahao.

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