Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Storm over registry’s contract workers


Minister of Home Affairs Lekhetho Rakuoane

’Marafaele Mohloboli

TEMPORARY contracts for hundreds of youths working as data capturers at the National Identity Civil Registry (NICR) will expire at the end of month amid allegations those remaining are aligned to the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).

Lists of the names of data capturers who are set to leave and those remaining at the NICR have been circulating on social media, with the agency accused of discriminating against people not aligned to the two ruling parties.

The youths have been capturing data for processing birth certificates and identification cards. They were on Friday served with letters reminding them that their contracts would be ending on 28 February.

The Sunday Express saw one of the letters dated 17 February 2017 which partly read: “This letter serves as a reminder that your temporary appointment with the Ministry of Home Affairs comes to an end on the 28th of February 2017. The Ministry takes the opportunity to thank you for serving diligently and wishes you the best for future endeavors.”

However, PFD leader and Home Affairs Minister, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, has rubbished the allegations, saying he had retained the contract workers he had found upon assuming office in 2015.

Adv Rakuoane also pointed out that the departing data capturers previously had their contracts renewed on several occasions and knew in advance of the expiry date.

“It is quite unfortunate if that’s what some people are saying. In actual fact, I retained the staff I found here when I assumed office, and have even had to fight with some of my cadres for not hiring them because I felt it wouldn’t be right to expel people who are already employed. So why would I do that now?” he queried.

LCD deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi was equally dismissive of the allegations, saying staff were retained on the basis of performance and not partisan considerations.

“There is no way that can happen. That’s because, from what we gathered during consultations with Minister Rakuoane, the staff are only retained on the basis of performance and discipline, not political affiliation,” said Mr Mokhosi, who is also Defence minister.

“The LCD never administered that ministry as a party, so it’s quite unfortunate for our party to be dragged into these allegations.”

For his part, the Home Affairs ministry’s Principal Secretary, Adv Borenahabokhethe Sekonyela, said it was “sad” that the issue had been politicized since the birth certificates and identification documents registration process had been a success.

“The contract workers have always known that this time would come and it is sad if the issue has been politicized,” he said.

“This has been one of the biggest and most successful projects the government of Lesotho has undertaken. It has addressed the challenge of youth unemployment and minister Rakuoane has handled it quite well.”

Adv Sekonyela also pointed out that they had to end the contracts due to financial constraints.

“We wish that there was something we could do to avoid reducing the staff. But due to financial constraints, it has to happen.

“We are very proud of these officers because they have managed to issue about 1.2 million birth certificates and more than 800 000 identification cards. We are forever grateful,” he added.

Comments are closed.