PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has fired Social Development Minister Molahlehi Letlotlo and his counterpart Small Business Development ’Mantoetsi Mohatonyane at the behest of their former parties in the seven-party governing coalition.
Ms Mohatonyane defected to the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) earlier this month, while Mr Letlotlo lost a fight for the leadership of the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) in the High Court last month.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the office of the Government Secretary, Lebohang Ramohlanka, the ministers were sacked after the LCD and LPC requested to Dr Mosisili.
Parties in the governing coalition include the Democratic Congress, LCD, LPC, Popular Front for Democracy, Basotho Congress Party, National Independent Party and the Marematlou Freedom Party.
The coalition formed government on 4 March 2015 after the 28 February 2015 elections resulted in a hung parliament, with DC leader Dr Mosisili taking the premiership.
The seven-party governing coalition has since been toppled in a parliamentary no-confidence vote engineered by a four-party opposition bloc. King Letsie III dissolved parliament on 6 March 2017 and proclaimed 3 June 2017 as election day.
Mr Letlotlo lost a court battle with his erstwhile deputy in the LPC, Mabusetsa Makharilele, last month after the former’s lawyers did not pitch up in court to prosecute the case.
In the case, Mr Letlotlo sought to challenge his expulsion from the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) along with 15 of his supporters.
The LPC’s troubles started when Mr Letlotlo expelled the party’s then secretary-general Moipone Piti and the then publicity secretary Bokang Ramatšella in October 2015.
An October 2015 conference convened by Mr Makharilele’s faction to elect the LPC’s NEC ousted the committee led by Mr Letlotlo.
During the conference, Mr Makharilele – who was then deputy leader – was elected as LPC leader with Mr Ramatšella also elected as the secretary-general of the party.
After Mr Letlotlo’s faction was ousted, the newly-elected NEC wrote a letter to Dr Mosisili urging him to dismiss Mr Letlotlo from the ministerial post.
However, Mr Letlotlo and his faction challenged the conference’s outcomes in the High Court with an application seeking an order nullifying the new NEC.
Following his court defeat last month, Mr Letlotlo has since filed an application appealing the ruling to hand over the party reins to Mr Makharilele.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) last month lifted its suspension of the LPC from participating in party activities in light of the court ruling.
The suspension had been effected earlier this year pending the finalisation of the case. However, Mr Letlotlo has since written a letter to the IEC complaining over the decision, saying the matter was still before the courts.
In the meantime, Mr Letlotlo has joined forces with the Lesotho Worker’s Party in campaigning for the 3 June 2017 elections.
Contacted for comment on his dismissal yesterday, an irate Mr Letlotlo said: “Don’t ask me to comment on that because that is my business and not yours. I will only comment tomorrow and don’t even ask me any further questions because this is my business and I choose not to answer.”