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Selinyane not fired – Mphaka

‘Marafaele Mohloboli

Government spokesman Nthakeng Selinyane has not been fired despite his role having been re-assigned to Communications Science and Technology minister Thesele ‘Maseribane.

Government Secretary (GS) Moahloli Mphaka says Mr Selinyane will remain in office but would now have to report to both Chief Maseribane and Mr Mphaka himself.

Mr Mphaka sought to clarify the matter after an angry Mr Selinyane said he had learnt of rumours that he was going to be fired once the minister had taken over the spokesperson’s role.

Chief ‘Maseribane on 13 November 2019 announced that he would take over the role of government spokesperson, a post that Mr Selinyane had held since April 2018.

When Mr Selinyane’s post was created last year, the position had previously been held by a sitting Communications minister for many years.

As government spokesperson, Mr Selinyane, a former National University of Lesotho (NUL) lecturer, reported to Mr Mphaka but under the new arrangement, he will now also report to Chief ‘Maseribane.

Mr Selinyane had scoffed at the announcement that Chief Maseribane would now assume the government spokesman role, saying as far as he was concerned, nothing had changed. He said he had not been told of the changes and would continue to discharge his duties, a clear indicator of the rift emanating from the latest changes.

However, Mr Mphaka has played down the ruckus saying things were being blown out of proportion.

“There are some people who for reasons better known to them decided to contort the whole story and blow it out of proportion… Mr Selinyane remains in office as he was initially appointed,” Mr Mphaka said.

“However, his duties shall be aligned to the office of the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology as has been arranged.

“In the same manner that Mr Selinyane will be under my supervision, he will also report to Chief ‘Maseribane.”

Chief ‘Maseribane could not be reached for comment yesterday.  Mr Selinyane nevertheless said he had been told by some Communications ministry staff of plans to fire him or dilute his role. He said he had been told of plans to appoint two officials at director level to assist Chief ‘Maseribane take over the spokesperson’s role.

He, however, insisted no-one could wish him away from his post as his contract was still running.

“I remain the government spokesperson and I will continue discharging my duties…It must be appreciated that the office of government spokesperson has not been abolished and the contract hasn’t been varied. It couldn’t be varied without engaging me as its holder,” Mr Selinyane said.

He said when he learnt of the “conspiracy” to remove him, some concerned ministry staff had indeed asked if the decision to restore the minister as the government spokesperson would render him jobless.

“They were apprehensive at the palpable hostility in the air portended by the official explanation of these preparations by their boss, and wanted to know if it was a Cabinet decision, whether I was aware, and how my office would relate to his supposed new status bearing my work title.

“At this point, exactly on 12 October, I texted the GS as my boss and cabinet secretary, enquiring about all this. To this day he hasn’t answered me or proactively told me of any decision that would give effect to the same.

“So, in a way I was shocked but not surprised when on the morning of 20 November 2019, I got wind of the so-called launch of Chief ‘Maseribane’s office of government spokesperson,” Mr Selinyane said, clearly voicing his disapproval of the latest changes.


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