THE Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Motlohi Maliehe, says he is still in the office and remains the chairperson of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) despite last week’s media reports that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will dismiss him.
Dr Thabane was last week quoted in the media as saying that Mr Maliehe should start packing his bags because he had automatically fired himself from both the cabinet and the party with his allegations that the First Lady Maesaiah Thabane exerted undue interference in party and government affairs.
Mr Maliehe launched a blistering attack on Ms Thabane while addressing a rally in his Butha-Buthe constituency.
Mr Maliehe said Ms Thabane was fomenting chaos in the party and in the government through “constant meddling” in the work of ministers and officials. He demanded that the First Lady stops meddling in state affairs forthwith or risk derailing the government.
The ABC chairman accused the First Lady of derailing the government by seeking to control ministers and how they should perform their duties. He further accused Ms Thabane of violating the constitution and “abetting corruption” by instigating the removal of ministers who refused to comply with her demands.
It was on the basis of his utterances that Dr Thabane allegedly said that Mr Maliehe should pack his bags and leave his party and government positions.
However, Mr Maliehe this week insisted that he was going nowhere and remained in his party and government portfolios.
“I am still the minister and I am in my office as we speak,” Mr Maliehe said on Tuesday.
“I am also the chairperson of ABC and ABC Member of Parliament for Butha-Buthe Constituency.”
Mr Maliehe’s statements were also backed up by the Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka who said he was not aware of the premier’s threats to fire Mr Maliehe or plans to do so.
“He (Mr Maliehe) has not been fired from cabinet. He is still a cabinet minister.
“I am not aware of the alleged comments by the premier to dismiss Mr Maliehe,” Mr Mphaka said.
ABC Secretary General and the Minister of Water Samonyane Ntsekele said no disciplinary action had been taking against Mr Maliehe.
He however, revealed that the ABC National Executive Committee (NEC) met several times last week to discuss Mr Maliehe’s statements.
“I am not going to comment on this issue. What I can only tell you is that the NEC had several meetings last week and will continue to have meetings in order to reach a decision on the way forward after his statements. Until then, I won’t say anything,” Mr Ntsekele said.