PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Political and Economic Advisor, Dr Fako Likoti, has defended the appointment of the premier’s son Rethabile to the post of Lesotho Highlands Water Commission (LHWC) chief delegate, saying he was the best candidate for the position.
Dr Likoti said this in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, in response to suggestions that the premier was deliberately placing relatives in strategic areas of the government to retain control even if he were to lose power.
Critics of the appointment, which was made early this month, also questioned Mr Mosisili’s qualifications for the position given that he is a lawyer while the previous officeholders were Physics Professor Lebohang Moleko and Engineer Charles Putsoane.
The critics also point to the M180 000 the younger Mosisili will be taking home as a red flag for profligacy, which together with the M45 000 he makes as a government-appointed Letšeng Diamond Mine board member would amount to a M225 000 monthly income.
However, Dr Likoti said Dr Mosisili knew nothing about the appointment, adding such appointments were made by ministers and the premier only gets to know about them after cabinet has approved them.
Water Affairs Minister Kimetso Mathaba, who appointed Mr Mosisili, also claimed the appointment “came as a surprise” to Dr Mosisili who he said had no knowledge of the development prior to it being made public.
Dr Likoti said even the M180 000 salary was an exaggerated figure peddled as part of “a dishonest attempt to taint the image of Mr Mosisili”.
He said Mr Mosisili was the best candidate for the position as he had previously been engaged in the Orange Senqu River Commission (ORASCOM).
The premier’s advisor also said the position only required administrative and not technical skills as suggested by some critics.
He said the attack on the family of the prime minister was “grossly unfair”.
“Attacks on his family through his children who are independent men and women are unfair. They seek their livelihoods on their own and none of his children are employed in cabinet where he has a role to play on promotions and appointments.
“Are we saying Prime Minister Mosisili’s children should not seek employment in Lesotho just because of their father’s status? That’s absurd, they have to make a living on their own as they are adults with their own families,” Dr Likoti said.
He also said in the past Rethabile was appointed to a diplomatic mission by the former premier, Thomas Thabane who was Foreign Affairs Minister under Dr Mosisili’s administration.
“When he was transferred from the Gender Ministry it was by (Basotho National Party leader) Thesele ‘Maseribane and they transferred him to the Ministry of Water. Little did they know he would be exposed to more opportunities that ended with him being the best candidate for the position of chief delegate at the LHWC.
“We are shocked that some of these claims are being made by the Alliance of Democrats of Ntate Monyane Moleleki who actually influenced the awarding of a tender to supply foodstuffs to the police to his child,” Dr Likoti said.