HIGH Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi, yesterday swore-in five cabinet ministers and three deputy ministers that were yet to take office, bringing the total to 25 ministers and eight deputy ministers.
The new ministers were sworn in after becoming senators on Tuesday during a special meeting of the upper house. The special meeting had been postponed several times, thereby delaying the ministers’ appointment.
The other ministers, who are National Assembly legislators, had been sworn-in on 23 June 2017 – a week after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s inauguration.
Lesotho held parliamentary elections on 3 June 2017, with Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), cobbling together seats with the Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) to form government last month.
They replaced the Pakalitha Mosisili-led seven-party governing coalition which was inaugurated on 17 March 2015 after the 28 February 2015 parliamentary elections.
Justice Monaphathi swore-in Tsukutlane Au as Home Affairs minister. Mr Au was formerly Public Service minister in the previous government before defecting to the AD from the DC.
Former Development Planning minister Mokoto Hloaele has taken on the Energy and Meteorology portfolio, while former police officer ‘Mampho Mokhele is the new Police and Public Safety minister.
Lebohang Hlaele has been sworn in as Law and Constitutional Affairs minister, while ‘Mamotsie Motsie takes on the Tourism, Environment and Culture ministry.
Associate Professor Ntoi Rapapa was sworn-in as Education and Training deputy, while Kotiti Diholo retained his previous position as Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs deputy minister.
The senior judge also swore-in Rethabile Marumu as Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation deputy minister.
The only minister from outside of the ABC, AD, BNP and RCL is DC Semena constituency legislator Tlohelang Aumane who was appointed as Development Planning minister last month.
Speculation has been rife that Mr Aumane intends to defect to the AD officially in the National Assembly, which is expected to be reopened later this week.
Mr Aumane has, however, remained coy about his intentions to keep the DC – which has threatened legal action against him – at bay.